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BABYLON 5 Claudia Christian checks in 
SEVEN DAYS Timely heroine - STAR TREK Adonais mourned 

MISSION TO MARS Astronauts debriefed 
Beyond DISCWORLD Why is Terry Pratchett laughing 





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Three heroic astronauts report on a Mission to Mars 


Acting alien & evil, he mal<es Battlefield Earth at last 


Toby Emmerich scripts a time travel tale without 
the travel 


Now here's a truly bizarre British SF comedy series 


Take a behind-the-scenes trip to this Strangerers 
new world 


Looking up these terms is a phantom menace In itself 


Terry Pratchett is fantasy's funniest bestselling writer 


Every Seven Days, Justina vail reveals an altered 


Charisma Carpenter has visions of working with Angel 


Once again, Claudia Christian bares ail about life & 


Decades later, Tim Matheson still acts & directs as well 


Keith David could be the voice of the SF universe 


Kevin J. O'Connor wants you to know he isn't really 


Among The Others, John Billingsley is, well, powerless 


Michael Forest recalls golden days as the god Apollo 

Art: Tom Holtkamp 


STARLOC- The science Fiction universe is published monthly by STARLOC CROUP. INC., 475 Park Avenue south, New York, NY 10016. starloc and The Science Ficti^on Universe are 
registered trademarks of Starlog Croup inc (ISSN 0191-4626) (Canadian GST number: R-124704826) This is issue Number 274, May 2000. Content is © Copyright 2000 by STARLOC 
GROUP, INC All rights reserved Reprint or reproduction in part or in whole— including the reprinting or posting of articles and graphics on any internet or computer site— with- 
out the publishers' written permission is strictly forbidden. STARLOG accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photos or other materials, but if submittals are accom- 
panied by a self-addressed stamped envelope they'll be considered and, if necessary, returned. Please do not call the editorial office re: this material. Freelancer phone calls wiN 
not be accepted STARLOG does not publish fiction. Fiction submissions are not accepted and will be discarded without reply. Products advertised are not necessarily endorsed 
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...Hi, I bought and very 
much enjoyed SCI-PEO- 
PLE #1 a looong time 

Is #2 out yet? Did I 
miss it? 

Via the Internet 

Sorry, Derek. SCI-FI 
PEOPLE was just a one- 
shot, so, in fact, you now 
have a complete collec- 
tion of that magazine. We 
had once intended to pub- 
lish two issues, but that 

plan was scrubbed only days after issue #1 (which did 
misleadingly ballyhoo a forthcoming #2 j was printed. 

...This has been a week of both joy and sorrow for me. 
First, there was the third return of an old favorite, 
COMICS SCENE 2000— indeed a time for joy. I too 
hope the third time for this magazine will be the 
charm. But then I got SCI-FI TV #10 and the day 
turned to sorrow as I learned there would be no issue 
#11 or #12. 

I know this does happen to magazines, but when 
it's time to pull the plug. I just wish that pubhshers 
would make it a habit to have the last issue go out with 
a bang or a major boom! 

Still I can't help feeling that maybe the publishers 
should give SCI-FI TV another chance with a little 
retooUng. Maybe a poll is needed to ask the readers 
what they want in the magazine. I wanted SCI-FI TV 
not only to cover SF, fantasy & horror television of 
today but yesterday too! Maybe many others felt the 
same way I did and want to see features and episode 
guides on old shows like The Time Tunnel, Space: 
1.999 and Battlestar Galactica as well with features 
on today's stuff like Star Trek: Voyager, First Wave 
and Stargate SG-Il 

It's not too late for the pubhsher to reconsider the 
fate to SCI-n TV 

James Cash 

Via the Internet 

Thanks for your kind words, James ( who is, we know, 
a longtime, loyal reader). Alas, it is too late now for 

And the magazine you suggest is not the one we 
wanted to publish, anyway. The whole reason for 
doing SCI-FI TV was to explore only current pro- 
gramming. No past stuff— which we have covered, 
perhaps too extensively for some readers, in STAR- 
LOG and continue to do so, though to a lesser degree, 
here because we've done so much already and there 
are so many new projects to deal with. 

Concentrating on today's television to the exclu- 
sion of all else gave SCI-FI TV a razor-sharp focus 
and, we think, a character of its own. It really wasn't 
just MORE STARLOG like that earlier, ill-fated spin- 

As for going out with a bang, SCI-FI TV actually 
was graciously allowed to make such an exit by our 
publishers. As we stated in #10, only half of that last 
issue (a particularly good edition) was at the printer 
when the decision was made to shelve the magazine. 
The next question then becomes: Kill it now or finish 
the issue and print it? The 
first option is, of course, 
cheaper, easier and far less 
troublesome. Nevertheless, 
we went with the second 
option. Why? 

Well, because it always 
bothered us when one of our 
favorite genre magazines { be 
it Modem Monsters, Larry 
Ivie's Monsters & Heroes, 
The Monster Times, Inside 
Comics or Castle of 
Frankenstein) just sort of dis- 
appeared without comment, 
presumably drowned in the 
newsstand seas. There was 
no chance to say farewell, no 
explanations, just absence. 
(Now undoubtedly this was because those magazines 
in question didn 't then know that they were publishing 
their last issues. You don 't always.) But we knew — and 
it seemed not only sad, but rude, to not take the oppor- 
tunity to say goodbye. 
So we did. 

And now we've explicated the explanation, but, 
hey, we have the space this issue. So, folks, write more 
letters. Or else our italicized answers will get far, far 
longer And you really wouldn Y want that. 


Executive Vice President 

Associate Publisher 

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Contributing Editors 




Art Director 

West Coast correspondents 

Financial Director: Joan Baetz 
Circulation Manager: Maria Daml- 

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row, Keith David, Hope Diamond, 
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Williams, Zeida Wong. 
Cover images: Art: Tom Holtkamp; 
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''Even though I'm surrounded 
by robots and monsters and old 
people, I've never felt more at 

— Fry 



ly the way, one reason that 
Ivoicemaster Billy (Fr>0 West 
enjoys doing Futurama is his love of the genre. "I was a horror 
fan as a kid, so SF figured in prominently," he states. "I grew 
up in the '50s, with those great movies. We talk about those 
movies all the time on this show. I will go to Eddie Grant's [a 
popular California video store] in North Hollywood and get 
First Man Into Space, where the guy has meteor dust fused to 

his suit so he has to drink 
blood. That movie haunt- 
ed me on a Saturday after- 
noon. I also loved Fiend 
Without a Face, Gorgo 
and Beyond the Time Bar- 
rier r 

— Pat Jankiewicz 

For more talk about 
Futurama's Fry, see the 
interview with Billy West 
#1 (now on sale). 


Linda: The Life & 
Times of Linda 
McCartney by Danny 
Fields, former Editor of 
VIDEO, two magazines 
published by the 
S T A R L O G 
GROUP in the 
1980s. In fact, one 

memorable day in 1981 or '82, Fields even hosted the 
McCartneys when they visited the STARLOG offices. 
Fields' biography of his longtime friend is the basis of 
a four-hour CBS TV mini-series now in the works. 

What If Our World Is Their Heaven? The Final 
Conversations of Philip K. Dick by Gwen Lee & Elaine 
Sauter (Penguin Putnam Overlook, $26.95) includes 
the complete interviews that the duo conducted in the 
months before Dick's death in 1982. Excerpts from 
those fascinating chats were published in STARLOG 
#150 & #165. 


wo longtime STARLOG Art Directors have exited the 
company after long, long, long tenures here: Senior Art 
Director Jim McLemon (who began back in 1986 with issue 
#111) and designer extraordinaire Yvonne Jang (a newcomer 
of sorts, coming aboard in 1990 with #158). We thank them 
for their wonderful layouts, for all those years of staying late 
& putting up with editors while trying to make implausible 
deadlines, for their incredible talents and for their friendship. 
So Ions, Jim & Yvonne, and thanks for all the fish. 


Irish McCalla, who played Sheena, Queen of the Jungle in the 1950s TV 
series (and discussed her adventures in STARLOG #89), faces another 
battle. McCalla, 72, endured two brain tumor operations in December 
and is presently confined to a wheelchair. She is undergoing grueling 
therapy in order to walk again. This is a grim time for her — and she 
would love to hear from Sheena fans. Send a card to Irish McCalla, Las 
Fuentes Care Center, Room 305, 1045 Scott Drive, Prescott, AZ 86301. 
She's still — and always will be — one of our heroines. 


Five more SF novels not to be missed, the very best of the genre's Ut- 

1) Worlds Apart by Joe Haldeman. You can't go wrong with Halde- 
man, and this, the second in his Worlds trilogy, is especially memorable. 
The aftermath of war separates two lovers: one trying to pick up the 
pieces in an orbiting city, the other struggling to survive on a ravaged 
Earth. A shocking and poignant look at the human condition. 

2) The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein. This thrilling story of 
slug-like aliens secretly infesting Earth, and the people who fight them, 
is the height of classic SF. There's a movie adaptation (not to mention 
various flicks ripping off the storyline). 

3) Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. A wild and crazy thriller of the 
Information Age that practically defies description. A fearsome villain 
and his computer virus are pursued by a sword-wielding hero and his 
15-year-old punk sidekick. Its cool factor is off the scale. 

4) Steel Beach by John Varley. An alien invasion of Earth has 
chased humankind to the Moon, where prolonged lifespans and instant 
sex changes are just two of society's many wonders. Another is the sui- 
cidal computer that 


l^elease dates are extremely subject to change. 

April: The Flint stones in Viva Rock Vegas, Fre 
quency, In Crowd, The Crow: Salvation. 
May: Dinosaur, Battlefield Earth. 
Summer: Dungeons & Dragons. 

June: Chicken Run, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwin- 
kle, Titan A.E. 

July: X-Men, The Hollow Man, Nutt}^ H: The Klumps, 
Wliat Lies Beneath, Pokemon 2. 

August: The Cell Space Cowboys, Impostor 

their exis- 

And so Alien found a fairly successful career in 
Earth politics after all. 

tence. A 

5) Ender's Game by 
Orson Scott Card. If 
you haven't read this 
one yet, you're very 
late — it's the quintes- 
sential SF war games 
novel, with a very 
human heart. Training 
simulations against the 
alien "buggers" turn out 
to be the real thing for 
young military genius 
Ender Wiggin — and the 
fate of two worlds lies in 
the balance. 

— Bill Florence 


NBC (& Fox): First, Fox schedules their great, but not high-rated 
animated series Family Guy on Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m. Then, NBC puts 
their new animated God, the Devil & Bob in that very time slot. Two 
toons at the same time! ! Who's gonna watch? (Especially since we're all 
then glued to Buffy on the WB.) Hey, move one! 

The Biggest Movies! 


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Patrick Stewart returns to his 
acclaimed role in The Ride 
Down Mt. Morgan when the 
Arthur Miller play reopens at 
New York's Ambassador The- 
ater on April 9. 

Craig Bierko also enlivens 
Broadway this month, playing 
Harold Hill in a revival of The 
Music Man at the Neil Simon 
Theater. _ j- 

The newest film from Blade Runner director Ridley Scott, Gladi- 
ator is due out next month. Set in the Roman Empire of 180 A.D., it 
focuses on a former Roman general-tumed-gladiator (Russe 
Crowe) who hopes to survive the deadly games long enough to kill 
the Emperor (Joaquin Phoenix). The cast includes Connie {Mission 
to Mars) Nielsen, Derek Jacobi, Richard Harris and Oliver Reed (in 
his last role; he died during the shoot). 

Former Star Trek scribe Ronald Moore is now a consulting pro- 
ducer on Good vs. Evil. 

Composer John Williams will score The Patriot, this summer s 
Revolutionary War adventure starring Mel Gibson. 


That TV program that partners Jet Li and Mel Gibson, 
referred to^ last issue, is actually a two-hour TV 
movie/series pilot. Invincible would showcase another brand 
of martial arts known as wushu. 

The Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas has shuffled release 
dates, movins up to April 28 from an early May premiere. 

Todd McFarlane's UPN project Gorilla World has been 
euthanized. . 

A federal judge has issued a prehminary junction ordenng 
that the TV series Harsh Realm include the credit "Inspired 
by the Harsh Realm comic book series, Created by James D. 
Hudnall and Andrew Paquette, Published by Harris Publications, 
Inc " in each episode's opening and closing titles. The duo had 
sued Chris Carter and 20th CenUiry Fox re: credit. The injunction 
remains in force through that suit's resolution. 



iM^c. . ^^w. ..... /ed by UPN. Its di , , 

the-barrel ratings make it extremely unlikely to return this 

Dilhert has been shelved by UPN. Its disappointing, bottom-of 
, .u;< 

_irector Ridley Scott is back in the film arena next month, helming a 
look at athletics, Roman style, in Gladiator. 


Joe (72) Morton and James {The Phantom) Remar co-star with Har- 
rison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer in Robert Zemeckis' horror film What Lies Beneath, 

due this July. Clark Gregg scripted. ^ . ^. i • • .^^.c 

Matt {Scream 3) Keeslar is playing Feyd Rautha in the Sci-Fi Chamiel num-senes 

version of Dwie. , , o , u - 

Seven Days' Nick Searcy will co-star in director Joel Schumacher s Tigerland 

Cameron Crowe's new, untitled non-genre film includes fantasy vets Frances (D^rA-- 
man) McDormand, Fairuza {TJie Craft) Balk and Anna Paquin, soon to be seen m X-Men. 

Joe {The Matrix) Pantoliano stars in this month's Ready to Rumble. He plays a 
wrestling manager . ^ • tl d 

Rachel Blanchard-first a regular in the War of the Worlds senes, later in The Rage. 
Carrie 2 and the TV version of stars in this summer's Road Trip. 

Genre vets Robert Patrick, Tom Skerritt and Alfred Molina ride in Texas Rangers, an 
August release. Molina's the bad guy. 7/t-„. 

Jon {Mom & Dad Save the World) Lovitz has a role in Woody Allen s Small Time 
Croo/c5, out this spring. . ^ . , t.' u c^,, 

Starship Troopers' Casper Van Dien is currently shooting Going Back. It s about sev- 
eral Marines who remm to Viemam for a TV show about their wartime expenences. Sid- 
ney J. {Supejinan IV) Furie directs. Van Dien is also starring in Titans, a pnmetime soap 
opera pilot for NBC. 

Kevin Smith's animated Clerks premieres May 31 on NBC. 
Smith isn't happy that this mid-season replacement is effec- 
tively premiering on the season's very last night. 

NBC has renewed 3rd Rock from the Sun for a full 2000- 
2001 season. . 
The Others is now broadcast earlier, 9 p.m. Samrday nights 

on NBC. ^ ^ 

Roswell is moving to a new time slot this month. It will now 

air Mondays, 9 p.m. 

TNT has OKed a Summer of the Gods mini-senes devoted 
to retelling various Greek and Roman myths. Hallmark Enter- 
tainment will produce the show. 

New Line TV's Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher is 
apparently a go for fall syndication. It focuses on a WWII hero, 
frozen for decades like Captain America, who awakens in 
another time (today), the better to fight the monsters and min- 
ions of his mortal enemy Dr. Mortas. Richard Donner is serv- 
ing as executive producer. 

^Western International Syndication is handling the V.b. 
release of the 22-episode The Immortal. Lorenzo Lamas is the 
aood guy endlessly battling evil in this show from Poltergeist 
H: The Other Side writer-producers Michael Grais and Mark 

Nickelodeon unveils the CGI-animated Jimmy Neutron, 
Boy Genius this summer. He'll start out in several shorts (to au: 
on Nickelodeon), eventually to emerge as the star of a theatn- 
cal feauire and then a regular Nick TV series. 


Simon {Dead of Night) Hunter will direct the 
movie version of Mutant Chronicles (at one 
previous point, John Carpenter was going to 
helm it). The script's by Philip {Event Horizon) 
Eisner and Stuart Hazeldine. 

ILM is doing FX on Impostor, which Gary 
Fleder is directing for Dimension Films. It's due 
out in August. 

After years in the works, Marion Zimmer 
Bradley's The Mists of Aval on is finally going 
before the cameras. It's a four-hour mini-series 
shooting in Prague for airing in 2001 on TNT. 
Gavin Scott scripted. Uli {Purgatory^) Edel is 
directing. So far the cast includes Anjelica Hus- 
ton and Julianna Marguiles. 

Odyssey Network will air a four-hour mini- 
series based on The Voyage of the Bassett, the 
fantasy novel by James C. Christensen. Odyssey 
is also planning a TV movie based on the H.G. 

10 STARL0G/M^7v 2000 

Wells tale "The Queer Story of Brown- 
low's Newspaper" (a guy gets a paper from 
40 years in the future). 

Meanwhile, NBC has commissioned 
The Monkey King, a four-hour mini-series, 
scripted by David Henry Hwang and pro- 
duced by Hallmark Entertainment. It's a 
fantasy about battling monsters in China. 


Riding the crest of the nubile 
teen songstress fad. Universal 
is going ahead with the perhaps 
misguided idea of making a Josie 
& the Pussycats live-action movie. 
Yes. really. Harry Elfont and Debo- 
rah Kaplan will direct for producer 
Marc Piatt. Rachael Leigh Cook 
will star. SF fans should breathe 
one sigh of relief. This is, after all, 
not the later Josie & the Pussycats 
in Outer Space. 

Then, there's Bad Cop-Worse 
Cop, a live-action-animated film 
being produced by Adam Rifkin, to 
be directed by Brian Levant. It's 
truly a Looney Tunes buddy movie. 
One cop's a vicious sleazeball, the 
other's the Tasmanian Devil. 

Touchstone Pictures has 
acquired film rights to Stephen 
Cannell's TV series The Greatest 

American Hero. Abby 
Kohn and Marc Silver- 
stein — who wrote Never 
Been Kissed — will script 
the movie. 

Jonathan (U-571) 
Mostow will direct that 
unecessary Seconds remake 
scripted by Roger Avary. 
The original's sizable 
box-office take has already spurred 
Sony on in making Stuart Little 2. 
Ghosfs Bruce Joel Rubin is scripting. 

Eddie Murphy will talk dirty to 
the animals again in Dr. Dolittle II. 
Larry Levin — who co-wrote the 
Murphy original — is scripting. 

Meanwhile, Sony is now seri- 
ously considering the Dean Devlin- 
Roland Emmerich scenario 
submitted to the studio for a second 
American Godzilla flick. 

The Planet of the Apes 
remake — which 20th Century Fox 
has mulled for almost a decade — is 
moving forward. Various film folk 
have flirted with the idea (among 
them Oliver Stone, James Cameron 
& Arnold Schwarzenegger). Looks 
like this will now be a Tim Burton 
film. Stan Winston is expected to 
stick with the project, creating, as 
he has always wanted to, those 
damned dirty apes! 


David Duchovny 
finds romance, 
maybe, with 
Minnie Driver in 
this month's 
Return to Me.The 
love story, directed 
by Bonnie Hunt on 
Chicago locations, 
co-stars Robert 
Loggia and James 


William Shatner will do a voice for the animated feature 
Osmosis Jones. 
Raja Gosnell — who helmed Home Alone 3 — is the new 
director on The Fantastic Four. 

Chuck Russell, meanwhile, is taking on Marvel's master 
of the mystic arts, Dk Strange, a Columbia Picmres project. 

And Grumpy Old Men guru Mark Steven Johnson is the 
new guy slated to write and direct the film version of Dare- 
devil for 20th Century Fox. 

Terry Rossio & Ted Elliott, whose credits include 
Aladdin and The Mask ofZorro, have a new project. They're 
writing Iron Man. 

Men in Black began as a comic before becoming a movie, 
a cartoon and an empire. Opening shortly (this month) at 
Universal Studios Rorida is the inevitable interactive ride, 
Men in Black: Alien Attack. It includes new film footage of 
Will Smith and Rip Tom reprising their movie characters. 


by d.e.white 

A renegade captain, 
a shipwrecked crew, 
an aiien menace and 
sabotage from within, 
it's a race against time, 
And too many iives in the balance. 

He wouid brealc aii the ruies 

Available April, 2000 
From White Enterprises 

ISBN 0-9677828-0-5 Paperback 


Airing in syndication the 
week of March 20: "Sex 
and the Single Spy." March 
27: "Floundering Father." 
Can Jack & Em save the 
recently kidnapped Ben- 
jamin Franklin? Both are 


Renewed for a 22-episode 
2000-2001 season. New 
episodes: "Superstar, "Where 
the Wild Things Are." See FAN- 
GORIA #192 (on sale April 11) 
for new interviews with James 
(Spike) Marsters and writer-pro- 
ducer Marti Noxon. 


Airing in syndication the week of March 20: "Kindred Spirits," 
wrinen by George Strayton & Tom O'Neill, directed by Josh 
Becker. As Gabrielle reigns as Queen of the Amazons, she must rule 
on punishment for the Peeping Joxer (caught watching Amazon 
bathing beauties!). March 27: "Back in the Bottle." April 3, 10 & 17: 
repeats. April 24: "Antony & Cleopatra" (new). May 22: season 


Renewed for a 22-episode 2000-2001 season. New 
^episodes: "Eternity," "Redemption" and "Five by Five." 


Airing in syndcation the week of March 20: "Rid- 
dle of the Nymph." March 27: "Valhalla." Both 
are reruns. 


Premiering on Showtime, episodes will later run in 
local syndication. Fourth season episodes: 
"Upgrades," "Small Victories," "Crossroads," 
"Divide & Conquer," "Scorched Earth," "The First 
Ones" and "Beneath the Surface." 

^^^ATRA 2525 

Iff- iring in syndication the week of March 20: 
"Creegan," the team vs. Creegan (Joel Tobeck, 
a.k.a. Hercules' Strife). March 27: "Flying Lessons." 
Both are reruns. 

It's supernaturally official. Buffy returns for 22 more^ 
episodes this fall. j 


Airing in syndication the week of March 20: "Pad'Ar." 
March 27: "In Memory," a particulariy memorable 
episode with Lili Marquette back on Earth — maybe. April 3: 
'The Cloister" (with guest star Marina Sirtis). All three are 

Then, new episodes air April 17: "The Fields." April 24: 
"Apparition." May 1: "One Taelon Avenue." May 8: "Abduc- 
tion." May 15: "The Arrival" (season fmale). 


Airing on Fox, Sundays. 9 p.m. March 26: "Chimera," written by 
David Amann, directed by Cliff Bole. April 9: 'All Things," writ- 
ten by Gillian Anderson & Vince Gilligan. directed by Anderson 
(making her directorial debut). It offers revelations about Scully's 

April 16: "Hollywood A.D.," written and directed by David 

Other upcoming episodes: "The Banshee," "Acid Dreams" (with 
the Lone Gunmen)" and a three-parter to end the series (/fit's wrap- 
ping up, a decision still pending at presstime). 

The pilot for TJie Lone Gunmen is scheduled to be shot late March 
until early April in Canada. 

Kim Manners has signed an exclusive multi-year contract with 20th Centuiy Fox TV to work on 
Ten Thirteeen Productions projects while continuing to direct episodes of The X-Files. See FAN- 
GORIA #192 for a comprehensive career interview with Manners. 


Airing on UPN, Wednesdays, 9 p.m. "I, Zimmerman" has been retitled "Life Lines." It airs May 3. 
The "Fair Haven" sequel ended up being called "Spirit Folk." 

March 15: "The Good Shepherd." directed by Rick Kolbe. Other new episodes: "Fury," also 
hehned by Kolbe, and "Role Call" (a.k.a. "Live Fast & Prosper"), directed by LeVar Burton. The lat- 
ter feamres three con artists who've been impersonating Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay, all the better 
to scam stuff out of various potential pigeons to "help out" Voyager. 

There's an important fan-initiated grassroots movement— commencing with late April demonstra- 
tions—to persuade Paramount Pictures TV that the best new hope for Star Trek lies in its classic past. 
This ever-increasing legion of fans beUeves that the most viable premise for that inevitable posi-Voyager 
Star Trek series is to focus on the crew of the U.S.S. Excelsior and The Adventures of Captain Sulu. 

STARLOG agrees. Paramount, give the fans what we want. Allow George Takei to lead us on 
next Trek. 

—David McDonnell 


Airing on the Sci-Fi Channel. Second season debuts March 
17: "Re Union." March 24: "Mind the Baby." March 31: 
"Vitas Mortas." 


Airing on the Sci-Fi Channel. Second season episodes to be 
broadcast in the U.S.: "Red Flag," "Prayer for the White 
Man," "The Purge," "Lost Souls, "The Heist," "Ohio Players" 
and "Night Falls." 

Hey, Paramount! We too want to see The 
Adventures of Captain Sulu. Make it so! 

12 STARLOG/May 2000 



Explore science fic- 

>n— the mythology 

:' the new Millenni- 
-jTi— in die pages of 


': s the galaxy's 
>?st Sci-Fi movie & 
r\ magazine and 
die original for 23 

ears. Every issue 
matures intrigu- 

ith the Stars • Directors • 

. riters. . .fascinating behind-the-scenes 

overage... and spectacular gatefold posters. 



SAVE ^3^' (the equivalent of five free issues) 
STARLOG Subscriptions 

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getting five free issues. 

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WRITTEN ORDERS. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. 


Twilight Zone, Volume 22 ($24.98) from Image 

_ Entertainment includes: "A World of Difference' 
in which Howard Duff begins the day thinking he is 
an average businessman living a normal Ufe, but then 
wonders if he is really an actor playing a businessman 
in an office that's actually a set. In "Back There," Rus- 
sell Johnson travels back in time to the date of Presi- 
dent Abraham Lincoln's assassination. "One More 

Pall Bearer" involves an eccentric millionaire who 
offers the use of his bomb shelter to three people who wronged him. In 
"Ring-A-Ding-Ding," a Hollywood film star receives a ring from her home 
townT which draws her back there to play her biggest role ever. All episodes 
are black-and-white. 

The four entries in Twilight Zone, Volume 23 ($24.98) are also drawn 
from the series' 1960-64 broadcast years and present a mix of both early and 
late episodes. In "Long Live Walter Jameson," Kevin McCarthy is a remark- 
able history teacher who talks about the past as if he had lived it. A vagrant 
steps into a murdered gangster's expensive footwear in "Dead Man's 
Shoes," and finds himself possessed. While driving home one rainy evening, 
Edward Andrews accidentally kills a boy with his car— though the auto will 
not let him run— in "You Drive." And finally, in "The Long Morrow," Robert 
Lansing and Mariette Hartley fall in love just before Lansing is scheduled to 
begin 40 years of suspended animation. They dream of being together, but 
fate, as always, takes an ironic turn. 

All 12 serial episodes of the original Flash Gordon Conquers the Uni- 
verse ($29.99), complete and uncut (234-minute running time), are being 
offered on DVD from Image Entertainment. 



y 1 0 E O LO,G : AfSLrril'H™^eEr 

tainment has transferred The 
Avengers '64 to DVD. These 
early black-and-white episodes 
feature Avenger John Steed and 
his first female partner— profes- 

^ sional anthropologist, secret 

agent, firearms expert and judo 
master Mrs. Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman; see the interview 
in STARLOG #254). Set #1 contains Volumes 1 and 2 (340- 
minute running time) with six complete first season 
episodes: "The White Elephant," "The Little Wonders," "The 
Wringer," "Mandrake," 'The Secrets Broker" and "The Tro- 
jan Horse." Set #2 features Volumes 3 and 4 and include 
"Build a Better Mousetrap," "The Outside-In Man," "The 
Charmers," "Concerto," "Espirit De Corps" and "Lobster 
Quadrille." Each six-episode boxed-set edition is priced at 

Ex-cop Arnold Schwarzenegger must vanquish Satan 
himself before midnight on New Year's Eve 1999 in Peter 
Hyams' fantasy-thriller. End of Days ($26.98 from Univer- 
sal/MCA Home Video). The DVD includes director's audio 


several bonus featurettes and the theatrical 

What could these legendary Galaxy Quest heroes be saying? Try the 
Thermlan channel. 

Fans of Lost in Space will appreciate the hour-long documentary Lost in 
Space Forever ($19.99). Hosted by John Larroquette, this Image Entertainment 
release recalls the series' greatest moments, from the launching of the Jupiter 2 to 
memorable alien encounters and funniest outtakes. 

Mel Brooks' SF parody Spaceballs ($24.98) debuts on DVD from MGMAJA, 
including the director's audio commentary, the trailer, a booklet and behind-the- 

DreamWorks Home Entertainment has announced its intention to release 
Galaxy Quest as a sell-through-priced title for only $22.99 in VHS. The DVD 
edition ($26.99) will include a documentary and a second audio track featuring 
the unintelligible screeching of the Thermian language. It's for true Thermian 
fans only. 


The Collector's Edition of Walt Disney's Tarzan 
($39.98) appears in stores on DVD this month. 
Directors Kevin Lima, Chris Buck and producer Bon- 
nie Arnold offer audio commentary. Other extras 
include footage of voice casting, early story reels and 
rough animation, Phil Collins' original song demos and 
a recording session, music videos, a sound design doc- 
umentary and various publicity materials and trailers. 

Fans of little-seen Eastern European animation will 
be pleased with two new releases from Image Enter- 
tainment. The Best of Bulgarian Animation ($24.99 on 
DVD and $19.98 on VHS) presents 50 minutes of short 
films, most of which have never been released to video. 

Look also for Masters of Russian Animation 
($24.99, DVD only), which presents over two hours of 
highly personal animated short films newly restored 
from original 35mm materials printed by the National 
Film Archive of Russia. 

The film version of author E.B. White's Stuart Lit- 
tle moves rapidly from its successful theatrical run to a 
well-stuffed DVD ($27.98) by mid-month from 
Columbia/TriStar. Director Rob Minkoff supplies 
audio commentary along with his animation and 
effects supervisors. Also inside are several deleted 
scenes, as well as featurettes, a blooper reel, a visual 
FX gag reel, an early concept reel, screen tests and the 
isolated music score by Alan Silvestri. 


tar Trek III: The Search for Spock ($29.98) joins the 
growing rack of goodie-free, no frills DVD Trek 
widescreen editions. The series of classic Tr^/: episodes 
on DVD continues with Volumes 9 ("Shore Leave" and 
"The Squire of Gothos") and Volume 10 ("Arena" and 
"The Alternative Factor"). 

Meanwhile on VHS, the very first adventures of 
Star Trek: Voyager are debuting this month from Para- 
mount Home Video. They include the two-hour pilot 
"Caretaker" ($19.95) and four eady episodes (at 
$14.95 each): "Parallax," "Time and Again," "Phage" 
(which introduced the Vidiians) and "The Cloud." 
Another six episodes materialize in May. 

14 STARLOG/May 2000 



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^'ith a little help from medical science 
and an unused battle droid, things didn't turn 
out too bad for Darth Maul. 


For PC gamers who think they lack leadership 
skills, or feel they haven't been given the chance to 
lead, get ready — Activision and Pandemic Studios are 
giving you the opportunity of your life with Battle- 
zone II: Combat Commander ($49.95). In this sequel 
to the 1998 game, you're a junior combat officer in the 
U.S. -Soviet combined troops known as the Interna- 
tional Space Defense Force, until a distress call from 
an ISDF base on Pluto thrusts you into command. You 
better be ready to handle the burden of leadership, 
because your enemy, the Scions, plan on taking over 
the solar system and wiping out mankind. 

Your objectives will have you fighting or building 
bases and factories through six alien worlds of vary- 
ing environments, each with awaiting threats. Fortu- 
nately, you'll have at your disposal more than 30 types of troops, including tanks, infantry, air support 
and mobile assault turrets, and it's easy to get caught up in ordering everybody around. As many as 25 
weapons will be at your disposal throughout the game, and you can also customize or switch vehicles 
as necessary. This is a full-scale war, however, and the aliens are pretty tough, so if things go badly, 
just remember— you can always turn on your own race and join the Scion forces. Can you say Baltar? 

We knew you could. 

The concept and set-up for Bat- 
tlezone II is pretty straightforward, 
and perhaps that's why it works so 
well. Strategy games often get 
caught up in their own tactical bril- 
liance, and as a result, many of them 
become overly laborious and, quite 
frankly, dull. There's the occasional 
clunky mission in Battlezone II, and 
you'll sometimes find yourself won- 
dering what your troops were think- 
ing in situations where they have to 
make their own decisions, but over- 
all the game designers don't let the 
strategy dictate the pace of the 
action. They just allow the gameplay 
to speak for itself 

The graphics are terrific — the 3- 
D worlds and their respective envi- 
ronments are lavish, detailed and 
easily distinguishable. The same can 
be said with regards to the game's 
numerous 3-D effects, such as multi- 
ple lens flares, lighting, fog and 
water effects. As for the multiplayer 
options, they're similar to the 
deathmatch and strategy modes 
offered in the first Battlezone. 
but step it up a notch by letting 
players choose individual game 
roles — you can be a defender, 
an attacker, a builder, etc. — and 
keeping them in contact via an 
integrated command interface. 
Overall, if you're looking for a 
game that's made to order, 
you'll find a suitable leader in 
Battlezone II: Combat Com- 


^ bsen/ers agreed that Apple Computer committed 
a major marketing blunder with the release of the 




Only three years (!) after the 
hit film based on the classic 
TV series — and with a movie 
sequel on tap for this summer — 
Mission: Impossible is now 
available on the Sony Playsta- 
tion ($39.99). You're IMF agent 
Ethan Hunt — or you were 
before a mole on the team 
framed you and stole the NOC 
list, which provides the identi- 
ties of all undercover agents 
around the world. Your mission, 
should you choose to accept it, 
is to clear your name with the 
IMF, recover the NOC list and 
stop the guilty parties who are 

Your objectives throughout 
the game's 20-plus levels 
require subtlety, subterfuge and 
skill, though you won't really 
need more than one of those 
three attributes at any time. In 
addition to meeting goals that tie 
in closely with the movie, such 
as the famous hanging-from-a- 
cable scene in the CIA head- 
quarters, you also participate in 
new missions, several of which 
are actually better than the 
movie-based ones. One scenario 
has Ethan in a sniper's sights, 
uncertain if the person walking 
past him in the train station will 
try to kill him. There are also 
more intriguing ideas like hav- 
ing to lure a guest at a swank 
embassy party away long 
enough to knock him out and 
assume his identity. 

Unfortunately, these better- 
executed (pun not intended) 
objectives suffer from graphics 
and gameplay that were more 
appealing to look at when the 
game debuted for the Nintendo 
64 in 1998; they can't hold a 
candle to today's PSX games 
like Metal Gear Solid, Syphon 
Filter and Rainbow Six. And 
when you combine them with 
the lamer missions that require 
jumping over toxic goop, firing 
rocket launchers at helicopters, 
yadda, yadda, yadda...well, this 
game becomes Mission: 
Unbearable all too quickly. 

What makes the Playstation 
version even more annoying is 
that Infogrames had over a year 
to learn from the mistakes that cropped up in the N64. Instead, they 
concentrated on small, unimportant cosmetic enhancement, leaving 
one to wonder what took the company so long to release this game. 
If you're a fan of the show, you'll enjoy hearing the famous Mission: 
Impossible theme, but many of you may be disappointed to discover 
that this game also adheres to the framing sequence offered in every 
episode — it pretty much self-destructs after five seconds. 

16 STARL0G/M^7v 2000 

The return of a claesic 
in an all-new format! 


COMICS SCENE is one of the most fondly remembered magazines 
ever published by the Starlog Group. It had two separate incarnations, 
1981-83 and 1 987-1 89B, and now returns— bigger, better & bolder than 
ever— as COMICS SCENE 2000! 

With a brand-new format, COMICS SCENE 2000 is now an all-color, 
96 page magazine, which includes two spectacular gatefold pullouts! 

As before, it will feature... 

•SIZZLING interviews with the hottest creators in comics! 

•AMAZING previews of the latest comic books & strips! 

•FASCINATING revelations regarding new storylines! 

• EXCITING coverage of ALL the new movie & TV versions of comics hits! 

•STUNNING views of the newest animated films & TV shows! 

It's all in COMICS SCENE 2000— truly a magazine for the New Millennium! 

One Year Subscription (6 issues) $29.97 
(Foreign: $39.97) 

H H H H M Clip or Copy 

: '.' OS SCENE 2000 Charter Subscription $29.97 (Foreign: $39.97) — — — — - 

Print Name As it Appears On Your Card 

= ease enter my Charter Subscription to 

: CS SCENE 2000 for one year (6 issues). 

; of Payment: 

l is- J Check /_/ Money Order /_/ Discover /_/ Master Card /_/ Visa. 
T : • :3rd orders may be faxed to 212-889-7933. 




ilcDOunt No. 

Card Expiration Date: _/_ (Mo.A'r.) 
Daytime Phone #:( ) 

Your Signature 

Total enclosed: $ 

Send cash, check or money order to: 
Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. NEW YORK, NY 10016 


A Triumph of Souls: Journeys of the Catechist 
Book Three by Alan Dean Foster (Warner 
Aspect, he, 406 pp, $24.95) 

One has to admire Etjole Ehomba. Despite his 
encounters with Krakens, demon butchers and a 
sadistic necromancer he knows will kill him, he's 
intent on returning the beautiful Visioness The- 
maryl to her people as he promised. 

Although there's a movie serial feel to A Tri- 
umph of Souls — with the rescue being an excuse 
for the adventures, not the reason for them — Alan 
Dean Foster brings his characters and situations 
to vivid life. Etjole is refreshingly calm and neurosis-free— a human 
Yoda — while his companions are a varied and entertaining lot. The dan- 
gers they face are never less than impressive, yet Foster handles them with 
a light touch. A Triumph of Souls is a triumph of joyous wonder. 

— Pemiy Kenny 

V.L by Don Debrandt (Ace, pb, 384 pp, $6.99) 

Don Debrandt's V.L, a compelling acronym for Viral Intelhgence, cer- 
tainly suggests a terrific concept — a chilling fusion of nanotechnology and 
artificial intelligence. But this seeming perversion of micro and biotechnol- 
ogy, this ultimate horror that evokes themes of Greg Bear's Blood Music and 
to a degree even John Skipp and Craig Spector's The Bridge, too often pulls 
its punches. 

That's not to say the book isn't interesting. V:/.'s pastiche of occasional- 
ly adolescent high space fantasy, with creatures — like the Toolies or the 
blue, ogrish central figure Storyteller— and concepts that titillate, as well as 
fly in the face of hard science, is a romp. Likewise, the set-up of assorted 
personal tales recalls Dan Simmons' classic Hyperion to nearly equal effect. 
But the novel ultimately comes off as multi-colored cotton candy; a curious 
confection, but without much substance. 

—Keith Olexa 

The Depths of Time by Roger MacBride Allen 
(Bantam, tpb, 464 pp, $13.95) 

Humanity has settled the universe, colonized 
and terraformed alien worlds, and has succeeded 
in crossing the vast space between stars by using 
temporal wormholes that provide not only travel 
through space, but also through time. The Chrono- 
logic Patrol has therefore been set up to guard 
these "timeshafts" and prevent rogue travelers 
from creating time paradoxes. 

Allen has crafted a complex universe, which 
serves as a backdrop to the even more complex 
saga of captain Anton Koffield, who seeks revenge for a crime he did not 
commit. At times, the novel is somewhat reminiscent of Alfred Bester's 
classic, The Stars My Destination. However, its convoluted plot — always a 
problem in time travel-based stories— ultimately fails to convmce, and the 
characters seem all too predictable. The novel ends on a cUffhanger of 


Kingless Land, A Tale of the Band of Four by Ed Greenwood (Tor, 
he, 304 pp, $24.95) 

When two rogues decide to relieve the legendary Lady of the Jew- 
els of a few of her baubles, they don't expect to become her rescuers. 
And they certainly don't expect to enhst in a quest to wake the Sleep- 
ing King, who will reunite the land. 

" The characters of The Kingless Land race from situation to situation 
without pausing for breath, or much character development. There's 
always a monster, a mage or a battalion to vanquish, and while it's all 
very exciting, it's overly frenetic. Important events take place off the 
page, and repeated scenes call to mind the term "stock footage." 

Though it has entertainmg moments. The Kingless Land still has 
its faults. 

— Penny Kenny 

Probability Moon by Nancy Kress (Tor, he, 320 pp, $23.95) 

Humanity has taken to the stars, thanks to the discovery of space 
mnnels left by an ancient civiUzation — an advanced culmre that was 
probably responsible for seeding Earth, and many other planets, with 
humanoid life. But danger threatens when another aUen race is also 
found to be using the mnnels — a race that seems totally hostile and 
uncommunicative with humanity. It's up to a team of humans to deter- 
mine if the power of an artifact moon orbiting a newly discovered 
planet can possibly help thwart the menace. But humanity must first 
deal with the planet's truly alien humanoid inhabitants. 

Kress' Probability Moon is a winner. Such non-human protago- 
nists as Enli Pek Brimmidin are very well-drawn and rich characters, 
as are many of the humans, but even though the science in Probability 
Moon is a step up from even Kress' Beggars in Spain, the story still is 
largely from an endless recycUng of classic SF themes. The personal 
conflicts, and the humanoids' concepts of shared reality, however, are 
compelling aspects of the book and make the read all worthwhile. 

—Keith Olexa 

Galveston by Sean Stewart (Ace, he, 464 
pp, $23.95) 

It's quite fitting that Sean Stewart's latest 
work is named for its setting, for the two 
Galvestons (one rational, one magical) so 
vividly described dwarf the individuals trying 
to survive in them. No matter what Sloane 
and Josh, the novel's main protagonists, do — 
be it Sloane attempting to escape her destiny 
as Galveston's leader or Josh trying to bring a 
long-held fantasy to life — they won't succeed 
unless the city wills it. 
The characterizations are excellent, from Sloane and Josh to 
ghosts and the ever silent, haunting Prawn Man. However, it's Stew- 
art's narrative style that draws the reader in and compels him to keep 
turning pages. Like the magic Galveston's Mardi Gras that never 
ends, Galveston will linger in the mind. 

— Penny Kenny 

sorts, promising more complex revelations to come. 

— Jean-Marc Lojficier 

Heart of Gold by Sharon Shinn (Ace, tpb, 368 pp, $14.95) 

Only the dullest readers could walk away from Heart of 
Gold without an idea of some sort of exploding in their brain. 
But while Shinn's latest work is filled with concepts- 
thoughts on gender, culmre and honor — it's more than just a 
sociological thesis. It's also, simply, a very good story. All of 
the characters think and act, act without thinking, argue, 
make love and fall in love. They're people, thus readers can 
empathize all the more with Kit and Nilan as they question 
who they are and find romance, all while simultaneously try- 
ing to stop two nations from obliterating one another. 

If you read only one science fiction novel this year, read 
this one. You won't regret it. 

— Penny Kenny 

The Dark Glory War: A Prelude to the Dragoncrown War Cycle by 
Michael A. Stackpole (Bantam/Spectra, pb, 416 pp, $5.99) 

Tarrant Hawkins' coming of age isn't exactly what he expected, 
but who would predict what happens to him. After all, who plans on 
standing against an invading army, or finding a magical weapon that 
can defeat said army, only at a terrible cost to its bearer? 

Well, all this can be found in Stackpole's The Dark Glory Wan a 
very smrdily written book. Tarrant is a Hkable and competent character, but this latter 
trait is both a blessing and a curse. It's great if you're advenmring with Tarrant — he's 
forever pulling everyone's fat out of the fire — but it also makes him rather dull to read 
about. There's never any doubt he'll pull through his trials. Fortunately, an intriguing 
simation is set up at the volume's end; one that will shake Tarrant up and make him 
worth following in the fumre. 

— Pejiny Kenny 

Guardian of the Trust: Merlin's Descendants #2 by Irene Radford (DAW, he, 544 pp 

The descendants of MerUn and Arthur conUnue to shape Britain's destiny in thi 
engaging sequel to Guardian of the Balance. Leaping from the mythic to the historic, Rad 
ford embroils readers in the intrigue-filled court of John Plantagenet. Even as a demo 

18 STARL0G/M^7}- 2000 

-hispers in the king's ear and sows seeds of 
:hios throughout the realm, a frightened and 
iismjstful woman must reclaim her heritage 
izc w ield Excalibur to restore order to the land. 

Here is a vivid and compelling re-imagining 
:: histor\- by a talented writer. SUghting neither 
iisiorical evidence nor legend, Radford com- 
rmes the tv^'O to create a world in which myths 
irxi monals walk and where the real and fantas- 
ize blend to form a harmonious whole. 

— Penny Kenny 

Wrsage to Eneh bv Roland J. Green (Tor, he, 
5Wpp, $24.95) 

Roland Green is an ambitious writer who 
-ants to squeeze as much story as possible into 
his proposed "Kilmoyn Trilogy.'' Without much 
-aming. he immediately pushes the reader into 
±e sior>' of Sean Borlund. one of several 
bmnans who've been marooned on the planet 
Kilmoyn. As with most of his kind, Borlund is 
qiiietl\- working towards finding some means by 
■aiiich he and the other humans can return to 
Earth. This means becoming closely involved 
mith the political — and especially the mili- 
iar>- — machinations of the various races and 
factions which populate the seafaring world. 

Green is attempting the enviable task of re- 
creating within a SF environment the excite- 
ment of the classic sea epics. And he's to be 
congratulated for such an auspicious start. But 
ibe reader should be warned that Voyage to 
Eneh is no standard tyro effort. Green begins 
deep and pulls no punches in immediately open- 
m£ the storyhne. 

—Michael Wolff 

Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds 
(Victor Gollancz, he, 475 pp, British edi- 

On the planet Resurgam, Dan Sylveste 
has made an incredible discovery — an arti- 
fact discovered under desert sands that may 
help shed light on why the planet's entire civ- 
ihzation no longer exists. 

While Sylveste battles intrigues on his 
world, light years away on Yellowstone, 
Khouri, a mercenary-cum-assassin, is given a 
mysterious assignment by a woman known 
only as the Mademoiselle to make a decades- 
long trip across space to kill Sylveste. Shang- 
haied by the crew of the staggeringly 
immense Infinity, Khouri learns that her cap- 
tors have their own reasons for finding this 
enigmatic Sylveste. While plotting Sylveste's 
death, Khouri must also contend with a 
ghostly cybernetic enfity caught amongst the 
Infinity's world-shattering weapon systems, a 
terrible force known as the Sun Stealer. 

Revelation Space is space opera in the 
grand tradition. It has a narrative tapestry as 
large as the galaxy, festooned with images 
recalling Foundation and Dune, along with a 
healthy smattering of William Gibson. 
Although at times overwrought, such incredi- 
ble fictional conceits as modified humans, 
devastating, irresisfible space voids and mind- 
altering, sentient oceans are balanced nicely 
against credible principles behind space travel 
and very believable future worlds. In a certain 
sense, this book is a revelaUon. 

—Keith Olexa 

Eater by Greg Ben- 
ford (Eos, he, 352 pp, 

Finding good, hard 
SF these days is some- 
times like finding life 
on Mars, so it's reassur- 
ing to see authors like 
Benford keep the flame 
burning. Benford's lat- 
est book. Eater, main- 
tains the tradition, 
although it does stray occasionally. 

The Eater of the tale is a tiny black hole, 
meters across but as massive as our Moon. Curi- 
ously, it's very mobile, and more curious still it 
appears to harbor an inteUigence. The scientists 
studying this strange life form — Dr. Benjamin 
Knowlton. his terminally ill-astronaut wife Chan- 
ning and the cool, ever-so-British astronomer- 
rival Kingsley Dart — are drawn into a maelstrom 
of personal, political and scienfific crises when 
the Eater transmits cryptic messages, and finally 
ultimatums, as its advances on to Earth. 

This compelling tale only suffers when the 
otherwise incisive science becomes far-fetched, 
and it's unfortunate no other characters besides 
the three protagonists display much complexity. 
The garden variety blow-up-the-bad-guy bit is 
also a minor disappointment. 

Still, Eater is a good book, grounded in good 
science. The author of Cosm and Time scape may 
have a more fanciful novel here, but it's still 
thought-provoking and ingenious. 

—Keith Olexa 


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A very thorough site listing this 
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Take a spirited trip to the other ' 
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A bloody great site with episode 
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She's a love slave with 
Lexx appeal — check her out. 


Follow the adventures of the 
steamiest spacefarers on TV. 


For the most complete informa- 
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Check out the guy who gets alien- 
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Every Now and Again, Eric Close 
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Look here for everything you 
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Travel 1,000 years into the future 
on this site; it's a blast. 
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hen it came time to assem- 
ble the science fiction 
adventure Mission to Mars, 
producer Tom Jacobson cast 
actors based on talent rather 
than celebrity star status. "This 
was not the type of movie where 
we were looking for big. heroic-look- 

ing guys who could fire ray guns at the monsters," he says. 
"We^were looking for actors who could realistically portray 
heroism and integrity. For this movie to work, you had to 
have people you could believe in these roles.'' 

Jacobson was successful in his search, landing not only Tim 
Robbins. but also Don Cheadle and Kim Delaney. And in the piv- 
otal roles of astronauts Jim McConnell Terri Fisher and Phil 
Ohlmyer. Gary Sinise, Connie Nielsen and Jerry O'Connell respec- 
tively embark on a perilous rescue mission to the red planet. 

nterestingly, for an actor who played a frustrated Earthbound 
astronaut^ in Apollo 13, Gary Sinise has not always been fasci- 
nated by outer space. "I was always fascinated with rock and 
roll and girls," he admits. But the actor was thrilled to discover 
that he actually got to take the ride in Mission to Mars. He also 
liked the idea that his character, Jim McConnell, is a man with an 
all-consuming mission. 

'The character I play has always been fascinated with space. He 
was totally obsessed with being the first man on Mars but, because of 
the personal tragedy of his wife's death, he gives the position over to 
his friend, and accepts ^the fact that he'll never get to Mars. But he gets a sec- 
ond chance, and the whole thing ends up being a beautiful story." 

Sinise dodges around the question of how difficult it was to play such a hero- 
ic character. "You don't think of it in those terms. You just think, 'What are the 
objectives of the character? What is he going through and what does he want?' I 
just tried to play him as who he was. He's a very noble character who has pure 
intentions. He has a nice storyline. He gets something taken away and then he gets 
it back. It's nice to play somebody like that." 

On Apollo 13, the actor prepared for his role by going to Space Camp, watching 
the shuttle take off, riding a gravity simulator and meeting the real astronauts. There 
was no time to research Mission to Mars, Sinise notes, "but with all the research I did 
for Apollo 13, 1 felt I was already there." 

All Mission to Mars Photos: Copyright 2000 Touchstone Pictures 

24 STARLOG/May 2000 

Gary ^inise. 

Jerry u'Connell 

call theii^mouie mission. 

Rctor asJroQauts 

Wlien not mourning his lost love and dealing with scientific tech- 
> : ^ibble, Sinise found himself doing a great deal of wire work and 
r^^ying off blue screens. 'That's all simply acting against stuff 
■---ui's not there. It goes back to my theater days when I was on 
>:age looking at an exit sign and thinking I was looking at 
NIoscow. I did a lot of pretending on this film." 

Sinise is well aware that Mission to Mars straddles the line 
between fact and fantasy. "Our science in this movie is based on 
real NASA theory and speculation on what it might be like to 
get to Mars and to actually inhabit that planet. This is definite- 
ly much more than science fiction. A mission to Mars is a real 
possibility, something that could happen in our lifetime. This 
is not unlike Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which also 
started out as hard science and then turned into something 
else at the end." 

But the actor is realistic about the reception Mission to 
Mars is receiving from audiences. "Some people are going 
to like this movie and some people are not," he notes 
philosophically. "Some people are going to be sucked 
into the wonder of the film, w hile others are going to be 
more reserved." 

Sinise — who is also in the upcoming Impostor — is 
quietly delighted by the opportunity Mission to Mars 
has offered him. "I finally have a movie I can take my 
kids to see. They get to see then- dad playing a noble 
character. In Apollo 13, 1 didn't go on the spaceship. 
In this one, I do get to go on the ultimate ride." 

hen Connie Nielsen first looked at the 
script for Mission to Mars, she realized 
she wasn't going to be participating in 
many sedate, dialogue-heavy scenes. "I 
knew I would be hanging on wires and 
spending a lot of time playing off a blue 
screen," she laughs. 

Happily, Nielsen — who learned the cold 
realities of special effects while making the SF adventure Soldier — also 
found that playing scientist Terri Fisher was more than a stereotypical 
assignment. "I really liked that this character wasn't the typical roman- 
tic interest, the sexual object, the mother or the daughter. In this movie, 
I'm the professional woman. Her pait in the story is very much defined 
by her job. She's a scientist and that's her role in the journey. She is also 
there as a real part of the team. Terri is tenacious, brave, rational and big- 

"It's not unusual that Tern's a female astronaut." continues the 
actress. "There have been women astronauts for a long time. What I 
think is interesting about this film is that they're actually sending a mar- 
ried couple into space. It's a kind of special relationship where people 
work together really well as a team as well as human beings. Her hus- 
band [Robbins as Woody Blake] is fun-loving. She's sort of serious. 
Within the context of this story, they function very well together." 

Consequently, the strongest scenes for Nielsen revolve around the 
relationship between the two. One is the sequence in which Terri watch- 
es Woody die and the other, a more light-hearted bit, has the couple 
dancing in zero gravity to a Van Halen song. 

"The death scene was difficult, because I was totally isolated from 
the director and my co-workers due to the suit I was wearing and the fact 

Photo: Dream Quest Images 

STARLOG/May 2000 25 

Mission to Mars' oiher\Nor\6y FX 
amazed even well-traveled SF actor 
O'Connell. "On Sliders" he explains, 
"the special FX were like, *Bring in 
the dry ice.'" 

Photo: Dream Quest Images 

For astronauts Jim McConnell 
(Gary Sinise) and Phil Ohimyer 
(Jerry O'Connell), this Mission 
to Mars promises to be one of 
cosmic adventure and fantastic 

that I was hanging by wires from 
the rafters of a very big studio," 
she explains. "The camera was 
moving all over the place and I had 
to stay focused on an X because 
Tim was not physically there. 
Many things happened in that 
sequence. I had to constantly pace 
myself yet remain emotionally 

She reports that her dance-in- 

Stellar performances. "Working 
with this caliber of cast 
[including Don Cheadle, right] 
was a step up for me," avers 
genre vet O'Connell. 

space scene was equally amusing 
and difficult. "Dancing within that 
constantly moving wheel was 
hard. I was hanging upside down 
and was tied to a table. I knew at 
the point I would go horizontal that I would have 
to unbuckle myself and walk through the different 
cubicles, walk up through the long center corridor, 
jump up and start dancing. That was hard, but still 
really a wonderful scene to do." 


his mission, 
chance" toe 

with Mars, but tragedy scrubs 
tes however, "he gets a second 
e red planet— and its wonders. 

erry O'Connell was more than ; 
excited at the prospect of play- \ 
ing computer guy Phil Ohlmy- \ 
er. He was crazed. "I chased ! 
this movie!" he exclaims. "It 
was not offered to me. I knew 
what Brian De Pahna's camera ' 
does. I really wanted to work [ 
with him. I thought it would be 
a fun movie to do. I wanted to 

go put on a spacesuit! I wanted to go to Mars!" 

O'Connell offers that fun was also the watchword when it came to por- 
traying his character. "I'm the comic relief. I'm the guy who, in these very- 
tense situations where we have to go outside the ship or something horrible is 
happening, gets to lighten things up by cracking up and making jokes. I go 
aaahhhin a lot in this movie. It's a fun place to be." 

It was also a little intimidating. "Working with this caliber of cast was a 
step up for me," he shyly notes. "The first day on the set, I thought, 'What am 
/ doing here?' I felt like I should be getting Gatorade and towels for these peo- 

O'Connell's genre background (which includes My Secret Identity, Joe's 
Apartment and Sliders) didn't completely prepare him for the rigors of big- 
budget science fiction. "At furst I was a bit intense. I was always wanting to 
know what my motivation was and how I was doing as an actor. Then, Brian 
[De Palma] would come up to me and say, 'For this scene you're going to be 
hanging in front of a green screen.' " 

And, laughs the actor, hanging around is what he did quite a bit of during 
the lensing of Mission to Mars. 'There were scenes where De Palma would 
come to us and say, 'We need somebody to hang upside down because we 
need to film this scene with the camera right side up.' Tim would look at Gary, 
Gary would look at Don [Cheadle], Don would look at Connie and Connie 
would look at me and say, 'Let the young one go up.' Brian would look at me 

26 STARLOG/^^}' 2000 


The big question is will 
Mission to Mars hang 
on at the box office? 
Sinise offers simply 
that "it has a nice 
storyline," and will let 
the audience decide. 

.... Jerry, you had better go to the bathroom, because 

- going to be up in the air for eight hours.' *' 

-en not imitating a trapeze artist. O'Connell marveled at 
. -jject's scope. "The most interesting thing about doing 
vie was seeing such a massive production in full effect. 
. -.. we had people from the special FX department saying, 

- .V you've heard about green screen, but we're going to put 

■ ; ver here and a spaceship will be burning out and explod- 
-ht next to you.' Watching De Palma work was also a kick, 
r were flying around and hanging in all kinds of different 

. • - :ns. and Brian and his camera were going nuts. It really 
. . ne realize what a small cog acting is in something like 

. Connell, who describes himself as "an SF guy who's big 
■ -.: " Wars and Star Trek,'' sees Mission to Mars as a film that 

■ end up being in the same category as those two hall-of- 

. :ranchises. "This is a classic adventure story, and 

just about going into space and landing on other 
This is about humans as explorers. It talks 

- .vho we are as a human race. It suggests that life 
- . _: *iiere, but it also explores how we relate to it." 

The actor, a favorite of SF fans, maintains that 
}i:snon to Mars does start from a hard science per- 
x^sctrve, but enters a fantasy-heavy, Close Encoun- 
-F-mects-2001 realm by the end. Not that that's a 
■ jd Thing "I like the ending. And yeah, it's heavy on 
:rT.v>\- elements. But let's not kid ourselves. We're 
-laing to the science fiction audience. That's our 
—-ret demographic." 

O" Connell, who has put his last SF adventure, 
behind him, recalls that TV series to empha- 
z= -iie difference between small-screen SF and the 
I rjne as epitomized by Mission to Mars. 
"To go from a show like Sliders to a movie like 

- nto Mars is like going from the minor leagues 
. majors," he says. "The effects on Mission to 

- .nvolve massive computer graphics. On Sliders, 
iXi FX were like, 'Bring in the dry ice.' " ^ 

Betveen dramatic interplay, most of the Mission 
I9ilvscast just hung around — on wires. Nielsen, 
in fact, found zero-g dancing with co-star Tim 
Robbins a dizzying feat. 

Terri Fisher is not your stereotypical heroine, she is, 
according to actress Connie Nielsen, simply a "tenacious, 
brave, rational and big-hearted" astronaut. 

STAKLOG/May 2000 11 


is not contained in the thousand pages of the 1982 novel by SF writer L Ron Hubbard (founder of 
The Church of Scientology, of which Travolta is a member), but in the actor's 15 -year odyssey of 
bringing it to the screen. 

Travolta initially optioned the novel in 1983, but that was the first easy step of a much harder 
task. Originally, he saw himself in the role of the young hero, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler But screen- 
writer after screenwriter failed to do justice to the source novel, Travolta's own personal star 
waned in Hollywood and, for a long time, it seemed Battlefield Earth was destined to go down in 
histoiy as one of the great unfilmed projects. 

But time passed, Travolta 's star reascended, and what once had been the movie that couldn 't be 
jnade became, for Travolta at least, the dream that finally did come true. Not that there weren't 
some compromises along the way. Now, talking to assembled journalists, he remembers the battle. 

Terl (with Forest Whitaker as Ker) is a Psychio, one of the alien race that has 
conquered Earth and doomed humanity to extinction. But this saga of the year 
3000 might change that. 

STARLOG: Tell us about the challenges ir 
getting Battlefield Earth before the cameras. 
JOHN TRAVOLTA: It has been many, man\ 
years in the making. The problems were two- 
fold. When I first wanted to make BattlefleL 
Earth into a movie, we could not get a scrip: 
written that was filmable. Nobody could cap- 
ture the book. Mind you, it's normally difficul: 
to capture the qualities of any book in a screen- 
play. But then to attack a thousand-page book 
and try to capture all of it is impossible. 0: 
course, the next best thing is to try to tackle 
half of it — which is what we did. I think ther^ 
were upwards of 10 drafts. Finally, after al 
these years, we got it right. 

Once that was covered, I reahzed I was in . 
position in Hollywood where I could use th. 
power I now have to move it along. Earlier 
even if we had gotten a script that was great. ; 
don't know that I had the clout to actually ge" 
it financed. So there was a two-fold timing, th-. 
script being in great shape and my positio: 

STARLOG: What was the biggest challenge 
in getting a working script? 
TRAVOLTA: It's really a test in trust when 
you hire the writer, because over the years 
you're putting out big dollars when you just 
hire a guy to try to write it. Based on the work 
you've read of that person, you hope they'll 
pull it off. The truth was it wasn't until Corey 
Mandell — who lives for science fiction — that 
we had our best shot. But even then, you don't 
know what their abilities are until they try it 
Corey came highly recommended as a real sci- 
ence fiction aficionado and writer. So I said, 
"OK, let's try this guy." 

We're maybe hundreds of thousands of 
dollars into writers at this point. Five writers 
and into the second if not third million dollars. 
We were hoping that Corey would pull this off. 
But I didn't hiow. He certainly sounded good 
through all the meetings. But you don't know 
until you read. When the pages started coming 
in, I went, "Oh my God, he's getting it. He's 
really getting it!" It's always one guy who 
solves it, but there are always a few guys 
before them who don Y. I knew at that moment 
that I had a script that was great. I thought 
"Now there are no excuses. I've got to get 
this going. I've got to make this happen." 
STARLOG: Are you talking about being 
faithful to the novel's text, or to its spirit? 
TRAVOLTA: I think if you're faithful to a 
novel, you automatically capture its spirit. I 
can honestly say that, having done five 
films in the last five years that were adapted 
from books, that in each one of them we've 
successfully captured the book. They were 
Get Shorty\ A Civil Action, Primary Colors. 
The Generals Daughter and now Battle- 
field Earth. In each of them, I felt that the 
writer was honest enough to the book thai 
it's like an impressionist painting. At a dis- 
tance, you look at it and you get the illusion 
that you need. But you've got to start with 
enough of a base to communicate that illu- 
sion. You have to get enough of the strong 

Travolta admits he enjoyed the over- 
the-top theatricality of his Battlefield 
Earth role. "Terl's like a Shakespearean 
character," he says. 

ITARLOG/Af^/y 2000 

- : 5 in there that the stuff you're missing, the 
. . ietails that one can only get in a book, 
: -ierful zone you get in when you're 1 
J ^ page and you can't wait for every I 

- - - r and detail well, so much of that has to f 

But if you get the important moments that 
:nly move the story along, but give 

- -mce and atmosphere, then you're going 

- ally cover all the details [a film] couldn't 

- • -re because you only have two hours. 

RLOG: Obviously, one of your biggest 
issues concerned Terl the Psychlo alien 

- .ay. Tell us about him. 
~ ^.\\'OLTA: I felt the character was so well- 

-;hi-out. The writing was great. I liked how 
: oie the part. I felt he really captured 
-.; ...ter from the book. He used a lot of 
^- ae from the novel, which I always prefer. 
- think if you go back to the base, you'll 
. ^est dialogue. You're going to notice 
a \ ery theatrical character. I purposely 
. 'lim that way because I feel his arrogance 

- rnse of superiority is inflated to no end 
: r.e just plays it to the 

- Terl's fun to watch 
-T. he's so full of him- 

— manipulations, 
: .-.Kmail and his evil 
• a> s that he thinks are so 
Table. He thinks 
rir. "re all great qualities to 
z^'t. It's all inverted. Terl's 
'jL= 1 Shakespearean char- 
has all this going 
_e and a different 

- £om2 on in the front. 

To give height to the 
Psychlos, special head 
iances and boots were 
le, which Travolta notes 
it were uncomfortable." 

-T\RLOG: You're not 
-n for science fiction 
- How has this experi- 

been for you? 
nUVOLTA: I love all the 
iar scales. There are Psy- 
dUo bars where they hang 
m/L and play Psychlo 
pazses. Terl has a discus- 
^GB rv^o times with a bar- 
that's very special, 
t Whitaker is in one of 
■ [as Ker]. They just 
Be this otherworldliness. Yet it's reminis- 
t of things that we're famihar with. It's just 
I think the most classic science fiction- 
^'^e scene is probably the one where Terl is 
acKobing to the Planetship this idea of using 
aals to mine gold, and these Psychlo 
; are giving them manicures. While the 
liBcf Psychlos are sitting around in a circle, 
e:^ their hair. There's something so classic 
that. It's one of your better SF scenes. 

There's another where the Planetship is being 
jirimailed that's kind of fun. 
-"--RLOG: Was it a big shift in acting style A apparamses and the appliances had that already 

of theatricality in Face/Off, and in Broke?! 
Arrow. So I felt that this was the third step up, 
to a bigger surreaUsm. It was a shift, for sure, 
but it was very comfortable shifting into this 
gear. Broken Arro\v and Face/Off were the 
stepping stones for it. 

STARLOG: It couldn't have been easy or 
comfortable for you to perform in height- 
extending boots and alien facial appliances. 
TRAVOLTA: There is an arrogance that the 

\ to play a science fiction role? 
TRAVOLTA: It was, and it wasn't. There's 
Ui± dieatricahty in the script. There was a bit 

helps you. This dredlock hairdo that I have, 
these eyebrows, the amber eyes. You know that 
the visuals are helping you. You get a little 

booster just having them on, even though it's 

STARLOG: How were the boots to work 

TRAVOLTA: The boots at first were uncom- 
fortable, but I modified them before I started 
working in them. We didn't have time to do 
some of this stuff. Finally, I lowered the angle 
at which the shoe fit, and it was fine. 
STARLOG: Much of this film focuses on the 
A antagonistic relationship between your alien 
character and Barry Pepper's human hero. Jon- 
nie Goodboy Tyler. 

TRAVOLTA: There's a whole section of the 

movie where Terl so stupidly thinks that his 
leverage over man-animals is to feed them rats. 
I get the giggles every time I see it because it's 
so bloody stupid. It's my favorite concept in 
the film — the section where he's debating on 
how to get leverage over Jonnie. Then Terl 
decides to let them free in the mountains and 
find out, after a few days when they get really 
hungry, what their favorite food is going to be. 
So when they're caught on the Picto-camera y 
screen eating rats, he decides thafs going to be i 
the leverage. So he teaches them how to fly ; 
spaceships. He teaches them how to learn the 
language. With rats! It's so hilarious. It works 
just as well as the book did for me. 
STARLOG: Battlefield Earth sounds very() 
TRAVOLTA: It's a great movie that way. It's 
threatening and dramatic in moments. Then it's 

hilarious in other moments. It's a fresh piece. It 
almost reminds me of Pulp Fiction 3000. It's 
weird that way. 

STARLOG: How has it been being both star 
and executive producer for this project? 
TRAVOLTA: I was happy to wear the produc- 
er's hat, because I finally had some real say-so 
and control over some things that really mat- 
tered to me. The actor's hat is always going to 
be the most fun. I can't say anything other than 
that, because that's what I'm happiest doing. 
But in this particular film, I was thrilled to have 
the responsibility. It's not a position I would 
want to have in eveiy movie. It's too much 
work, and it's hard to do both. But I had to have 
it in Battlefield Earth, because I felt that no one 
was going to take the care that I would from the 
production end. 

STARLOG: Yoirve assembled quite a team 

for Battlefield Earth. Director Roger Christian 
with his Star Wars background, Godzilla pro- 
duction designer Patrick Tatopoulos, etc. 
TRAVOLTA: Roger and Giles Nuttgens, the 
cinematographer, Patrick the designer, and the 
editor, Robin Russell, you're talking about 
upper-level guys here. The guys who made 
Star Wars and ALIEN. I've never seen such 
sacrifice to pull this movie off. They worked 
for six months while we were waiting to con- 
firm the financing and distribufion. They went 
out of their own pockets. Roger gave up other 
jobs. Even the model builder, Bill Pearson, did 
it for 2i fraction of what he normally would get. 
They did it because of their love for the book. 
They wanted to make Battlefield Earth work. 

Roger said the closest thing he ever felt to it 
was the first Star Wars, because George Lucas 
never quite knew whether the movie was going 
to be a go or not. They were trying to make 
magic out of what they had. And they did. I just 
feeF eternally grateful to the guys who sacri- 
ficed so much to make Battlefield Earth work. 
STARLOG: Tell me about your co-stars. 
TRAVOLTA: I thought I was going to be the 
only actor who had this level of enthusiasm. 
But Battlefield Earth had been Forest Whitak- 
er's favorite book in college. He wanted to be 
in it. I would never have imagined Forest as 
Ker, but when you see him, he's just so won- 
derful! Even Barry Pepper. He brought this 
extraordinary energy toward making Jonnie 
work on a whole new level. All around me was 
this enthusiasm that mirrored mine. I knew 
why, because they were telling me, but it was 
such a wonderful surprise to have this. I 
thought I would be the engine keeping the ship 
going; I was the engine making sure everything 
went right. But I wasn't there keeping the ship 
up. It was all these other guys making extraor- 
dinary contributions to keeping it going. 
STARLOG: Is Battlefield Earth being set up 
for a sequel or a franchise of sequels? 
TRAVOLTA: For right now, we're only plan- 
ning one sequel. That will complete the book. 
However, if they do the cartoon — which 
they're thinking of doing — some other things 
that get made may have a Ufe of their own in 
another format. As far as film goes, the second 
part of the novel is what's planned for now. 
STARLOG: Would the sequel focus on Jonnie 
and Teri, or would it expand into other areas? 
TRAVOLTA: We would try to capture every- 
thing the second part of the book captured. The 
man in the grey suit, etc. Terl, in the second 
part, is behind a lot of things. He's scheming. 
But you've got many other characters and 
things — a whole scene in Africa, for example. 
That takes a lot of the second part of the book. 
We just want to capture everything that was/w^ 
C about the second part. Then we'll feel that 
we've totally conmiitted to the thousand pages, 
and we were honorable to that. 
STARLOG: Surely, you'll be back as Teri. 
TRAVOLTA: Oh God, yes. Teri is going to be 
there in spades. I meant that we weren't going 
to eliminate other characters just so Terl could 
dominate. We continue to always know that 
Teri's there, but we introduce these other char- 
acters as needed. I want Corey to write the sec- 
ond part, and I'm sure he'll deal with it ver\- 
cleverly, and mix it so Ted's in it. as well as 

Earth's ruin was only possible through the work of a 
dedicated crew, and Travolta praises the guys "who 
sacrificed so much to make Battlefield Earth work." 

v^er really interesting characters. Q 
^.RLOG: li Battlefield Earth is successful, 
^ :his open the door to your acting in or 
... ng other L. Ron Hubbard novels like 

\VOLTA: Well, Fear would be a great one 
But there's also the whole Mission Earth : 
That maybe could be more of a TV C 
. There are so many great LRH science Q 
I books. But Fear is the one that stands the 
L best chance. That's the one I want to do 
. So you've hit it on the nose. But I'm also 
K at this Ubrary of amazing possibilities. 
' years and years of fun in science fic- 
1B»1D have there. I would love to be able to do 
€wer>- few years, do a great science fiction 
- of Hubbard's. That would be great. 

^vRLOG: You've also been mentioned as 
- - : n a film remake of the old TV Western 
U7// Travel Will that happen? 
)LTA: Yeah. We've developed that. It's 
-hat's ready to go, if I want to do it. It's 
:'X)1. 1 like it. And I've been debating a 
. -e to do a Western. It's just a matter of 
±e right time. 
--0G: Do you expect to be playing 
- roles in the future? 
>LTA: Yeah, I do. I feel that after Bat- 
- Larth, if successful, I have a myriad of 
I^B^at I could do with all of Hubbard's nov- 
^ Ita± that science fiction should be much 
mmt lealistic than what's often portrayed. In 
•jfcr vmls. it's a little fantastical for my 
If we make science fiction a little closer 
m Kiirr. ^^ith things that are surreal, but not 
mataL then it's much more entertaining to me. 
MaAmOL so fantasy, because fantasy is different 
'rram scieiice fiction. Science fiction should 
j^fiHiasy for fantasy. But I'm open to sci- 
jsfictioD done right. 

%JtLOG: Of all Hubbard's many works, 
i iivi }cu choose to film Battlefield Earthl 
XilDLXA: This was the first science fiction 
>j«ktet I really loved. There are certain clas- 
. Stranger in a Strange Land — that 
\ fantastic, but Battlefield Earth real- 

ly entertained me the most, 
and I felt was more viable 
than most of the SF I see. I 
felt it deserved to be out on 
the big screen and just 
because it was a thousand 
pages and someone could 
not solve a thick book, 
doesn't mean it should be 
stopped. Random House 
did a poll this [past] year, 
and it was the third favorite 

book of the cenmry. It needed to 
be fibned. 

STARLOG: How does it feel to finally bring 
your dream project and your favorite author to 
the screen for the first time? 
TRAVOLTA: Oh, boy. Amazing. Really amaz- 
ing. I've never done this with any movie before. 
I've had passion for different movies I've done. 
But I've never spearheaded a film that I've had 

passion for and meant so much to me, and has 
been so long in the making. It feels really great. 
With a lot of hard work, and many people 
i putting their absolute best foot forward, we got 
■ something done. And we have a great product, 
1 one we're all very proud of. I think Battlefield 
I Earth will really entertain people. ^ 

STARLOG/A/^jy 2000 33 

Copyright 2000^Pv Line Cinema 


Listen to Tomorrow 


rhis is the first script I ever 
wrote, and it sold," chuckles 
New Line Cinema development 
executive-screenwriter Toby 
Emmerich regarding his time-travel film 
Frequency (due in theaters this month). "So I 
guess I've lived the classic Hollywood suc- 
cess story. I'm the reason people give up 
their safe and secure jobs to become screen- 

Emmerich acknowledges, however, that 
Frequency is certainly in keeping with his 
left-field success. "I wrote the script on spec. 
I had the idea kicking around for a long time 
and, at one point, I was going to write the 
script with a friend of mine. We had made 
some plans to work on it, but six months 
went by and all we had to show for it was a 
three-page outline. I called him up and said, 
'I'm going to take four weeks off to try to 
write this thing. Do you want to do it with 
me?' He said, 'Well, I'm busy on another 

on my own 
and if I sell it, 
I'll throw you 
a couple of 
bucks.' So I 
went off and 
worked as hard 
as I could 
every day for 
four weeks, 
and was able 
to come up 
with a draft." 

In Frequency, John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) and his 
father Frank (Dennis Quaid) reunite over ham radios— 
and across the sea of time. 

Timely Films 

It's a tale of two times. In 1969, NYC 
fireman Frank Sullivan (Dennis Quaid), a 
lifelong baseball fan and ham radio enthusi- 
ast, dies fighting a fire. In 1999, NYC detec- 
tive John Sullivan (James Caviezd of The Thin 

Red Line), hi^ 
son, hears 
radio transmis- 
sion through 3 
drunken haz 
and begins i 
believe he can 
talk to his long- 
dead father. Can i 
they communi- 
cate on this Fre- 
quencyl And 
will they be able 
to change histo- 
ry, not only sav- 
ing Frank from the inferno but preventing the \ 
death of wife and mother Julia (Elizabeth 
Mitchell of Gia)l 

Given this story premise, it comes as no 
surprise when Emmerich announces that his 
inspiration for Frequency came from some 
familiar sources. "The movies that I used for 

34 STARLOG/May 2000 

Selected Photos: Takashi Seida 

_:hstones when I was writing this script 
rre Ghost, Field of Dreams, It's a Wonder- 
. Life and Heaven Can Wait,'' he 
"ounces. "All four of those films fall into 
-.11 1 consider one of my favorite movie cat- 

that plays out in a story. But it does have a 
science-fiction hook to it, and I think that 
people who like science fiction will enjoy 
this movie." 

But he offers that he did run across Jack 

V the 'What If movie. Like, 'What if 
.>hed you had never been bom and an 
:akes you around your world and 
you what it would be like if you were 
: bom?' Or, 'What if you died and there 
some unresolved business, so you 
as a ghost?' Frequency takes that 
ce fiction-fantasy question, but then 
t out the drama in a realistic way." 
Emmerich candidly asserts that Frequen- 
^10 the discerning eye, isn't blazingly orig- 
. "In a sense, this is kind of formula stuff, 
are elements of SF, fantasy, action- 
re and thriller genres in it. In some 
, Frequency is very much a stew of dif- 
; genres mixed together. Lumping gen- 
; together and muddling things up was 
; a concern of mine when I was writing 
J script. But I think I did a respectable job 

i it doesn't feel too creaky." 
And that's not too surprising, considering 
r writer is a big fantasy fan. "I like science 
. but I love fantasy." Consequently, 
ich eschews calling Frequency a pure 
^fihn. 'This is more fantasy than science 
Real science fiction is Star Wars and 
dve worlds and universes. This movie 
"nrre like The Twilight Zone. It's a premise 

Finney's classic time-travel tale Time and 
Again in his cine-temporal travels. "I didn't 
read Finney until I wrote Frequency, and 
people started telling me, 'Man, you've got 

know who those guys were," Emmerich 
notes. "I think people who read the script and 
liked it knew who those guys were after a few 
pages. Yes, there were some cliches employed, 
but you still knew who they are. The hardest 

character to 
create was 
the killer. It 
would have 
been so 
easy to fall 
into cliche. 
It was tough 
to figure out 

how to tell people who he was as a person 
and not just paint him as a device. The one 
thing I liked about all these characters is that 
we didn't have to stop the action cold to 

What if stories, as in "What if a father in 1969 could connect with his son in 1999?" were 
influential, according to Emmerich, in the development of Frequency. 

to check this out, because it's a great time 
travel book.' I finally read it after I sold the 
first draft and I thought it was fantastic." 

Emmerich adjusted to the writing disci- 
pline quite easily, and once he sat down in 
front of the computer, things flowed freely. 
"The twists and tums of the storyline came 
together rather well," he says. "The idea that 
this movie was a rollercoaster ride came 
together instantly. The hard part was getting 
inside the characters' heads and trying to give 
each one a unique voice and point-of-view. I 
didn't want them to be puppets, having them 
say just what I needed them to say in a scene. 
Everybody had to be playing from a real- 
world point-of-view." 

Some characters were easier to create 
than others. "The fireman and the cop, I 

explain who these people were. That part of 
the script seemed to flow naturally." 

Time Travails 

While shepherding Frequency through its 
first draft, Emmerich claims that he was fully 
aware of the time travel cliches of science- 
fiction yesterdays. "There were certain mles 
and paradoxes I tried to be conscious of," he 
admits. "History gets changed in this film, 
but only on a micro level, a personal level. 
There's nothing like somebody steps on an 
ant and Adolf Hitler gets elected President. 
When I was formulating the idea for this 
story, I asked myself, 'What would happen if 
Jack the Ripper had been mn over by a horse 
and buggy after committing the first mur- 
der?' There would be no Jack the Ripper. But 

r Emmerich happily recognizes the 
iness of his script sale: "I'm the 
oa people give up their safe and 
■e jobs to become screenwriters." 

STYARLOG/May 2000 35 

Design & Layout: Jimmy Seo 

what if somebody had gone back in time and 
saved Jack the Ripper's life on that day and 
suddenly, in the year 2000, Jack the Ripper is 
all over our history books? 

"There's a variation on that theme in this 
movie, some slight new wrinkles and a cou- 
ple of tricks people haven't seen before. This 
is a time travel movie where nobody travels 
through time. The only things that go through 
time are information and voices. And who 
knows what the effect of that will be?" 

Emmerich finished the first draft of Fre- 
quency in May 1995. But rather than use his 
in-house status at New Line Cinema to just 
slip his script under company president Bob 
Shaye's door, the writer went the more tradi- 
tional route. "I sent the script to a bunch of 
agents and they wanted to paper the town 
with it, sending it to Disney, Paramount and 
Universal and getting a bidding war going. 
But I knew in my gut that wasn't in the cards. 
I felt that New Line was going to get a first 
shot at it, that there was no way I was going 
to sell it to another company if New Line 
really wanted it. They've put food on my 
table for eight years. There's no way they 
were not going to look at it." 

New Line was, indeed, interested and pur- 
chased Frequency in July 1995. Emmerich 
was thrilled when the company rewarded him 
with an executive producer tag as well. 

"When I sold the script, there was no produc- 
er attached. Having been a creative executive 
for the company," Emmerich explains, "New 

ma.Though Emmerich says 
' came easily, he found it harder "getting inside the 

characters' heads." 

Line felt I would be an effective advocate for 
the project. My job was finding a director, 
packaging it with a cast and getting it off the 

What Emmerich did not count on was the 
headaches that ultimately doomed Frequency 

to three years in Development Hell. "I wen- 
through three directors, several casts and a lo: 
of blinking green lights turning into red 
lights," the writer 
recalls of the frus- 
tration of getting 
Frequency going. 
"There were a lot of 
ups and downs, a 
lot of almosts and 
then a lot of noth- 
ing. Those three 
years were a real 
education in patience 
and persistence." 

Director Grego- 
ry {Primal Fear) 
Hoblit — a multiple 
Emmy-winner for 
his work on Hill 
Street Blues, LA 
Law and NYPD 
Blue — came on board 
at the end of 1998. 
and the script 
underwent a series of rewrites. Emmerich 
claims he gave up counting after four drafts, 
but insists that the final draft was pretty close 
to the first. "Greg had a bunch of stuff he 
wanted changed, so we redesigned some 
things. But I recently went back and looked 


at the first draft and it's still very similar. If all 
the writing done since the first draft had been 
done by a different writer, I don't think that 
\^Titer would be getting a screenplay credit. 
To my way of thinking, the script has gotten 
better and it certainly benefited from Greg's 
knowledge. But I truly believe that the 
screenplay, in the most important ways, is 
pretty much the same." 

Casting Frequen- 
cy turned into yet 
another chapter in 
the ever-expanding 
mutual admiration 
society between 
Emmerich and HobUt. 
"Greg really cast this 
movie but he consult- 
ed me very closely, 
and I feel I was 
involved with every 
decision that ulti- 
mately got made. He 

rally had a great 

Ntinct for the char- 

-lers. I'm very 

-ppy with who we 

nded. I loved that 

.e actors chosen had 
passion for the 

aterial. As the 

riter, you want 
-:iors who are doing 

:ur work for the 

^ht reason. And the 

zht reason is that 

:ey love the script 

"d the story and feel 

ey can play the 

- - aracter." 

Writer was not a bad word on the set of 
^ sqiiency, and Emmerich made daily 
r pearances during lensing in Toronto and 
•ew York, occasionally doing minor 

- .vrites. ''There were a couple of times when 
--ings were done that I wasn't happy with," 
■ i recalls. "But the times when I went, 'Oh 

-.:tl' weren't really Greg's fauU. It was usu- 
y that the time, budget or something was 
: working. But you can't have two cooks, 
'.is vision generally aligned with mine. 
' J honest, when things happened, I truly 
. e\ ed that Greg was getting something 
I didn't see." 

Successful Times 

Emmerich, bom and raised in New York, 
to Wesleyen College in Connecticut, 
graduate film school was always a 

- ^ ng goal. "I've always been into film and 

- I wanted to direct. So I applied to a 
- " - n of different film schools and got 
---ted at NYU." 

Things looked bright for Emmerich at the 
of his graduate tenure, but that was not 
"Three weeks into the semester, I fell 
j ended up being in the hospital for 23 

^ \\'hen I got out, I was too far behind to 

- -. up with the rest of the class, so I knew I 
^ Ding to have to take at least six months 

" -efore going back to school. At that time. 

my doctor told me that I needed to be in a 
low-stress career." 

Filmmaking was definitely not in that cat- 
egory, so Emmerich put movies on hold and 
jumped at the offer of an A&R job at Atlantic 
Records. For five years, Emmerich checked 
out bands and began working in the label's 
soundtrack depailment. participating in the 

cy, Emmerich could be forgiven if he bolted 
the suit-and-tie side of the movie biz in favor 
of the carefree life of an in-demand writer. 
But he still works at both, and quite happily, 
actually. "It's really not that tough," he 
chuckles. "Life is all curves. It's all shades of 
grey and everything kind of bleeds together. 
It's really not that hard for me to juggle my 
development job and 
writing screenplays. 
I'm slow when it 
comes to the writing. 
I write a lot of nights 
and weekends. New 
Line has been real 
good about it and, of 
course, they have a 
first look deal on 
everything I write. At 
this point, as a writer, 
I'm pretty booked 

Among his cur- 
rent projects is the 
rewrite on Killer, a 
suspense thriller which 
has been kicking 
around the New Line 
offices for decades. 
He is also reworking 
an untitled World War 
n time travel movie, 
as well as a film he 
describes as "a 1990s 

Emmerich may have beaten the clock by 
selling his Frequency script so quickly, but 
many cast and crew changes consigned 
his film to a long production stasis. 

development of 
soundtracks for such 
films as Lost Boys, 
Beaches and Good- 
fellas. "Through that 
job, I started meet- 
ing with big-shot 
film people. Eventu- 
ally, I decided I 
wanted to become a 
development execu- 
tive for film, and had 
already lined up 
some job interviews 
in Los Angeles when 
I mentioned it to 
Bob Shaye at New 
Line and he said. 
'Why don't you 
come to work for 
us?' " 

Over the past eight 
years, Emmerich has worked in New Line's 
development department, offering his opinion 
on the merits of scripts. DoubUng as a devel- 
opment person in the studio's soundtrack 
department, he has also helped create sound- 
tracks for Menace 2 Society^ Mortal Kombat, 
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and 
other films. 

In the face of the buzz created by Frequen- 

Though a time travel movie without tra 
Frequency still resonates with drama, action, 
excitement— and a killer who's out to make his 
own bloody mark in history. 

Of course, there is already talk about a 
possible Frequency sequel. Toby Emmerich says 
thanks but no thanks to that notion. "I haven't 
really thought about it. But I don't think this is 
a movie that will have a sequel. I mean, look 
at the films that inspired me; Ghost, Field of 
Dreams and all the others. None of them have 
had sequels. I would like to think Frequency 
is in that same category." ^ 

STARLOG/M^j 2000 37 

.s whose 
survey of 

n 1988, writer Rob Grant and then-part- 
ner Doug Naylor lampooned science fic- 
tion with Red Dwatf, a wildly ureverent SF 
comedy series about a group of whacked- 
out space bums wandering the universe in an 
ancient mining ship. The series became 
BBC2's longest-running comedy, with eight 
seasons to date and a possible big-screen 
adventure in the offmg. 

Just over a decade later, Grant (inter- 
viewed in STARLOG #186) has returned to 
the small screen with The Strangerers, an 
even more outrageous fusion of comedy and 
SF. Starring Mark WilHams and Jack Docherty 
as a pair of displaced aUen cadets, the 10-part 
series began airing on Britain's Sky One in 
February (an American distribution deal hasn't 
been struck yet). 

"It's about a small group of aliens who land on Earth," 
explains Grant, outlining the premise. 'The original mission 
is only intended to take up an hour of Earth time, but some- 
thing goes terribly wrong, and their leader is incapacitated. 
The two novice trainees are left to complete their mission, but 
they're not of sufficient rank or status to acmally know what 
the mission is. They're such novices that they haven't even 
completely mastered walking yet, much less eating or sleep- 
ing. Their knowledge is very skimpy, but they have to survive, 
avoid detection and get back to the rendezvous point." 

Laughs from Space 

To make matters worse, the aliens have studied Earth 
records in order to appear inconspicuous, but the source of 
information mms out to be old black-and-white films. "Their 
knowledge of Earth comes entirely from early TV movie 
broadcasts, which encounter massive interference en route as 
well to further compHcate things. The aUens think the most 

important thing in the world to do to avoid detec- 
tion is to tip their hat to females." 

Work on The Strangerers began in 1994, after Grant 
finished both the sixth season of Red Dwajf and his Red 
Dwa?f solo novel. Backwards. While it would have been easy 
to manufacture some high-brow literary source of inspiration 
for the series, Grant concedes that his idea came about in a 
much more unlikely fashion. "I almost always get my ideas 
while I'm taking a pee," he laughs. "I don't know why that is, 
but it happens so often that it's getting scary! As a concept, it 
was partly the way that some ideas come out of a negative 
thought. One of the negative inspirations, in fact, for Red 
Dwatf was to do a space series that didti 't feature aliens. It 
forced us to develop unique stories, because we couldn't have 
the blue thing of the week coming in and giving us a plot. I 
was thinking about science fiction, and I've never done ahens. 

"The idea actually came from a quote from Arthur C. 
Clarke, who said, 'There are two options: either life exists out 
there, or we are the only living thing in the universe, and 
either alternative is equally incredible.' So I thought, what if 
they do exist and do come down here? I wanted to do an alien 
show, but with aliens that you hadn't really seen before. I 
don't want to give too much of the story away, but it becomes 
clear early on that they're not of any animal extraction." 

Key to the success of The Strangerers was finding the 
right actors to play the two stranded aliens. For the role of 
cadet Flynn, Grant immediately thought of Williams, a veter- 
an film, stage and television actor with an extraordinary gift 
for physical comedy. "He was acmally in the opening episode 
of Red Dwaff, and came back for a quick cameo in the second 
season. He brought a pretty incidental character to life, and I 
thought we could acmally have had more of him." 

The part of cadet Niven proved a bit more difficult to cast. 
After seeing a number of actors. Grant eventually mmed to 
writer-actor Jack Docherty, who had acmally been unavail- 
able when casting began. "Jack's joke about it when he sat 

38 STAKLOG/May 2000 

From the depths of space come aliens planning on 
controlling— your funny bone. Creator Rob Grant's 
(center) The Strangerers is a stellar SF comedy. 



Since "their knowledge of Earth 
comes entirely from early TV movie 
broadcasts," notes Grant, these 
guys don't exactly behave like 
normal people. Not at all. 

down to read with Maik w as, 'So. you've come 
back to the 'D's again!' He was originally 
involved in a series called The Creatives, 
which made him unavailable for our series, but 
the BBC moved The Creatives to later in the 
year, freeing him up. It was just serendipity/* 

"What really appealed to me." claims 
Docherty, "was the opportunity to play the stu- 
pid alien, the uninformed idiot. In previous 
work, I was often cast as the forceful one. the 
one who thinks he's in control, so it was quite 
nice to be the lovable buffoon. I see Niven as 
rash and stupidly bold; he never thinks any- 
thing through. 

"Because Rob hadn't really written any bits 
where we might see their actual society, Mark 
and I were as much in the dark as anybody else. 
We were just playing it entirely as aliens inhab- 
iting these bodies trying to pretend to be 
human. We were coming at it from a very 
human aspect. The key to it, in fact, was to 
approach it from a child's point-of-view; we're 
as baffled as children by everything." 

As relative newcomers to all things 
human, Niven and Hynn spend a good 
deal of time in the early episodes mas- 
tering such basic skills as eating. 

sleeping and even walking. 
"The basic idea was that they 
were very good at communi- 
cation," says Williams. "We 
knew they were going to be 
complex communicators, but obviously they 
weren't used to walking. Just about overnight, 
we both came up with the same walk. Jack 
based his walk on his 18-month child, and 
mine's a kind of amalgamation of kids when 
they're really starting to walk." 

Playing the cadets' supervisor is Milton 
Jones, whose character gets decapitated within 
the first minutes of episode one. and spends 
much of his time with his head badly reat- 
tached to its body or often separated complete- 
ly. Needless to say, that posed problems for the 
three actors involved. "The hardest thing was 
carrying Milton," recalls Docherty, who was 
usually assigned the job of transporting Jones. 
"He's a short bloke, but he's very solid and 
quite heavy. We had to do endless takes of us 
carrying him all the way across this field. It 
was worse than an army workout." 

In contrast, "There were a few times when 
they walked away and left me dead," counters 
Jones, "and I wasn't sure if the shot was over or 
not. I didn't know Mark and Jack that well 
beforehand, we just went straight into shoot- 
ing. I was 'dead' for the first couple of weeks, 
and it was quite hard to build up a relationship 
when you're dead. When you perform on set, 

you're used to people getting to know you 
through the way you're working. I was work- 
ing, but I wasn't doing anything; I felt I was 
without an identity until I spoke." 

One of the biggest difficulties for the visit- 
ing aliens was mastering the complex exagger- 
ated English that Grant had created for their 
characters. "It is a vejy hard script to speak out 
loud," admits the writer. "The aliens are ver>' 
intelligent, but they extrapolated English from 
a very small database, so they speak hyper-cor- 
rectly. They always put 'ly' on the end of 
adverbs and use certain compound forms of 
words that make sense if you think about it, but 
are not common in English. It's a very infec- 
tious way of speaking. I was on the phone with 
my bank manager, and found myself using the 
word *prontolistically.' He thought I was going 
completely mad, but it was like that, especially 
when we were in the heat of shooting." 

"It's not the easiest thing to remember," 
agrees Docherty. "When you're thrown a word 
like 'inconspicuositude,' you have to say it 
very confidently, and that can be quite tricky. 
The turnover of material for me and Mark was 
huge. We worked 12-hour days and then would 
have to go straight home and learn tomorrow's 
script. There was quite a lot of pressure to get it 
right, because they couldn't afford to run over." 

"One of the things it does is it makes you 
listen," notes Williams, "which may sound a 
bit perverse, but it's quite useful. Also the tone 

40 STARLOG/Ma>' 2000 

Sure, aliens are funny 
on their own, but 
Grant decided 
pursuit by agents 
Harry (Mark Heap) 
and Rina (Sarah 
Alexander) would 
heighten tension — 
and humor. 

It's like The 
Invaders, only 
funny. OK, it's 
not like The 
Invaders, but 
it /s funny. To 
unveil more 
on The 
check out the 
gatefold this 
page 42. 

and the class consciousness, it's almost Dick- 
ensian, that an alien from another culture 
anempts to over-elaborate. That comes from 
music hall as well, because there's a strong 
root of that in Britishness." 

Jokes in Black 

As viewers discover in the opening episode, 
the ahens' presence on Earth does not go unno- 
ticed. Two operatives from an unnamed covert 
government agency, the hypochondrical Harr\' 
Mark Heap) and the Emma Peel-like Rina 
' Sarah Alexander), are dispatched to fmd and 
detain the visitors. While Grant is reluctant to 
give away too many specifics about the agency, 
diere is a back story which may or may not play 
out over time. "It started to develop when we 
signed up Mark and Sarah, and they said, 'OK, 
where are we coming from?' I thought I could 
get away with just having them as part of a mys- 
terious agency, but we had to absolutely nail 
down what their relationship was, what this 
agency was, how they were recruited and what 

they actually do. There were all 
kinds of things like that which you 
really have to know." 

There's also Harry and Rina's 
mysterious boss, played by Mike 
Hayley, who has enough skeletons 
in his closet to make the Cigarette 
Smoking Man look like a Girl Scout. "It's a 
great character, kind of Mefi in Black as well," 
says Hayley. "After an alien manifestation, I 
appear and just wipe everything clean. It's like 
a Bond villain. There's a very nice scene later 
on in an alleyway where I've just blown some- 
body's brains out, and I say, 'Right, that should 
stop the farting in church; anybody care to join 
him?' There's another great Une where I'm try- 
ing to flush the two aliens out and say, 'I do 
hope we get them soon; I would hate to have to 
nuke the place,' and the look on everybody's 
face says, 'He's not joking!' It's not an expres- 
sion; he will actually use a nuclear device in a 
city center to get the two aliens. It's a nice little 
character thing." 

The supporting cast of The Strangerers fea- 
tures a number of familiar faces from British 
sketch comedy, along with a well-known genre 
name or two. Blake's 7 fans will recognize 
Gareth (Blake) Thomas as a police sergeant in 
episode one, and Paul (Avon) Darrow, in a recur- 
ring role as a seedy-looking hotel manager. "I 

met him at a SF convention in Chicago," says 
Grant, "and drafted him in for this part as a 
sort of a murderous pimp, and he took to it 
like a duck to water. His character went away 
after two episodes, and I had to bring him 
back again. He features all the way to the 

"They sent me a brief outline," recalls 
Darrow, "and I looked at it and thought, 
'Give me a break, this is not me.' I had a 
very good lunch that day with a friend, 
though, and was in quite a jolly mood, so I 
strolled in and said, 'Listen, what is this? 
I'm the Richard Gere of England. Why am I 
being asked to play some rat bag?' and Rob 
said, 'I just thought it would be a nice idea.' 

"We talked about how I would play him, 
and I thought, he would think that he was 
somebody famous, so I suggested Elvis 
Presley. Rob said, 'Maybe, but can you sug- 

gest someone else?' I said, 'Well, how about 
John Travolta?' That's how it was decided how 
I would do it. This guy isn't John Travolta, he's 
rather grubby with a really bad toupee. It's 
John Travolta gone terribly wrong." 

Rounding out the cast is Morwenna Banks 
as the Super-Supervisor, who appears later in 
the series to rescue the stranded cadets, only to 
discover how difficult it really is to act human. 
"Those are some of the most successful scenes, 
actually," insists Docherty. "It's where Niven 
and Flynn get a couple of triumphs, because 
their life has been so crappy up to that point. 
Just to see them with even the tiniest little tri- 
umph, like they know how to eat and their boss 
doesn't, that's very satisfying." 

"She's one of those depressing people who 
gets the words straightway, while you're busy 
fumbUng around for them," adds Jones, whose 
character is re-headed by the S-SV's arrival. 
"She had a higher status than I did, so she start- 
ed bossing me around. I was able to show my 
inadequacy a bit more once she came along." 

While The Strangerers often leans more 
toward comedy than SF, its genre production 
values are top-notch, with FX sequences rival- 
ing those of much more expensive producfions. 
"Audiences have a certain level of expectafion 
now," says Grant. "It's becoming more do- 
able, although I vastly underestimated quite 

STARLOG/Mav 2000 41 

All washed up. Special FX ace Richard Stammers admits that this water 
transformation sequence "was probably the hardest shot to do." 

Effects from 

Visual FX supervisor Richard 
Stammers was responsible for 
overseeing nearly 200 shots, from 
ray gun blasts and holograms to a 
brief but stunning sequence in 
which Harry is reconstituted from a 
puddle of water. "In terms of time 
and development, that was proba- 
bly the hardest shot to do," recalls 
Stammers. "I wanted to avoid the 
Abyss look and try to get a sense 
that it was coming up out 
of a swirling vortex rather 
than just a straight pillar 
or tube of water. I saw it 
as the upside-down effect 
of what happens when 
you empty a sink and 
you've got a swirling vor- 
tex of water going down. 

The Super-Supervisor 
(Morwenna Banks, right), 
claims to know more than the 
cadets about Earth. But just 
watch her eat a hamburger... 

Scully In 
RIna, but 
more to the 
agency she 
works for than 
meets the eye. 

how hard everything was going to be. We got a 
fantastic deal from the Moving Picture Com- 
pany, though. They do a lot of very big-time 
special FX, and agreed to do it for a much 
lower fee because they loved the project." 

Then, we added a lot of 
warping and manipula- 
tion to get it all to work." 

Perhaps the most 
ambitious FX set piece 
involves the Supervisor's disembodied head, 
which literally sprouts tiny parsnip-like legs 
and comes to the rescue of his companions. 
Two elaborate prosthetic heads had actually 
been built for use in the series, but it soon 
became obvious that using Jones' own head 
would be preferable. "Initially, I was told that 
they would use the head as much as they 
could," recalls Jones, "and my understanding is 
that they realized they would need me more 
than they thought. 

"I had extra days put in for close-ups and 
blue-screening, where I had to dress up in this 
stuff and go through lots of moves, but effec- 
tively only my head would be shown. That was 
a very technical process, because you've got to 
get it just right each time. It didn't feel much 
like acting, really; it was more like dancing or 
movement that I had to get right each time, and 
it was hard work." 

"That was always going to be a fun 
sequence," remembers Stammers. "We did a 
rough running test of the head just to look at 
the animation, and what the problems might 
be, so when it came to shooting, we had a good 
idea of what was needed and what problems 
there would be with each shot. 

"When we were shooting the background 
plates where the head would be running, we 
actually had one of the prosthetic heads as a pup- 
pet. We bought a couple of parsnips from Sains- 
bury's and stuck them onto the puppet's bottom 
and ran it through the shot so the other actors 
had an eyeline to look to, we knew what size the 
shot would be and exactly where it had to run." 

In order to give The Strangerers a unique, 
timeless quality, the production team made a 
conscious effort to avoid any contemporary 
references that would date the series. Newspa- 
pers and brand-name products had to be spe- 
cially made, unusual-looking cars were hired 
and composer Peter Brewis used a zither to 
create an offbeat opening theme. "I asked Rob 
where and when this was set," explains Brewis, 
"and he said, 'We're keeping it vague; it has a 
slightly run-down, seedy kind of look, and not 
in any particular place.' 

"For some reason, I immediately thought of 
it being vaguely East Berlin, because it was 
gloomy, run-down and unidentifiable. I thought 
it would be wonderful to use this instrument, 
which is unrecognizable to us. We don't associ- 
ate it with anything except vaguely with The 
Third Man and the Strauss waltz. That was real- 
ly where the idea came from, of using an instru- 
ment you couldn't place." 

Completing the unusual look are some 
interesting retro influences, such as the 
1950s-style ray gun and the ahen mother- 
ship, which Grant wanted to look like a vin- 
tage hubcap. As Stammers explains, "In 
those old sightings of UFOs, people used to 
say it looked just like a hubcap, so I acmally 
got information on old-fashioned Cadillac and 
Oldsmobile hubcaps and found aspects of 
them that could be incorporated into a saucer 

Putting aside the SF trappings. The Stran- 
gerers remains a comedy series pure and sim- 
ple. Niven and Flynn are a classic double-act, 
and their terrestrial misadventures fall squarely 
within the hallowed traditions of slapstick. 
"We were doing the old comedy scene," 
Docherty recalls, "of the cowboy having his 
first drink, but magnifying it by about a hun- 
dred times. We basically have a fit when we 
have whiskey for the first time. I remember 
that working, and also the scene where we eat 
for the first time before the Supervisor's head 
falls off. Just looking at Mark putting all the 
bacon in his mouth and me trying to get three 
sausages in my mouth at the same time, you 
begin to get a sense that this is quite funny." 

Regarding the future of The Strangerers, 
Grant has left the series wide open for a fol- 
low-up, but it remains to be seen if Flynn and 
Niven and their cranially challenged Supervi- 
sor will return. "If you've got interesting char- 
acters and a rolling story, I always imagine it 
can run and run," muses Grant, "but to tell you 
the truth, I saw the first episode of The X-Files 
and thought, 'OK, how long are we going to 
run this where she doesn't beUeve any of his 
mysticism? After you've done UFOs and spon- 
taneous combustion, where can you take this 
series?' I was well wrong about that!" 

"It's funny, it's intriguing and it's original," 
declares Docherty, "and those are good reasons 
to watch a TV show. Funny above all else, 
because it's a comedy and Rob's a damn good 
comedy writer. I think The Strangerers is 
worth seeing just to see what he has come up 
with this time." ^ 

42 STARLOG/M«v 2000 

views of 

It's not eas> 
green, espe 
getting ray I 
more shock 
The Strangt 
page 38. Als 
39 & 40. An< 
Page 42 as ' 

These impressive water 
shots represent just 
one of the FX that 
promise to make The 
Strangerers a splashy 
SF comedy. When will it 
cross the drink and get 
poured onto American 
TV screens? 

it Ameri 

artoo (are, too) n. Ritual 
response in the classic 
debate sequence, i.e. 
Artoor "Amott!" ''Artoor 


(binx) n. 
Incredible stench. 
"Good golly Miss 
Molly! Something 
binks to high heav- 
en in here!" v. To be 
driven out by a 
strong, putrid smell. 


ackbar (akk' bar) fh Succulent, edible cms 
tacean. The main course at the Red Lobster. 
(See also Ackbar Thermidor, Ackbar Bisque, 
Stuffed Ackbar). 

alderaan (al durr' rawn) n. A place without a 
long-term future. "Ever since the new interstate 
bypassed Grover's Mill, the state of New Jersey 
has become an alderaan. Might as well blow the 
whole place up." 


amidala (am 

uh' dalluh) n. 
Excessive, com- 
pulsive condition 
causing one to 
change clothes at 
least once every 17 
minutes, often into 
more outlandish ensembles 
With proper medication, 
the condition can be 
controlled. "The 
audience could see 
that Cher still had 
amidala^ (See also 

O chewbacca (chew back' uhh) n. 
That big hairy stuff cats throw up. 

darth (darr thhhhhhh!!) v. To dress in black. 
"Johnny Cash, Tim Burton and Darkseid were all 
darthed to the gills." 


ewok (eee' walk) n. The world's number-one 
website for selling woks. 

(fet) n. A ludicrous death. \ ^ ' / 

)er-one ^jr\ ^^^^ 


Derivation of fate. "Irving met his fett 
bleeding from a thousand paper 
cuts after the pillar of 
Kleenex fell on 

f 0 r t u n a 

(four tune' a) n. 1 
A kisser of major 
butt. Lackey, 
toady, flunk}'. 2. 
A weak-minded 
follower with no will of 
his own. (See also jedi). 3. 
Proper full-dress attire for 
men, including white tails 
and tie. 

alactica (guh, lack' tick uh?) n. 
Similar, reminiscent, sorta-like but 
somehow not really. Good 
enough for television. 

gamorrean (gamma 
ree' en) n. A sexist, 
male pig 

anakin (ann uh' kinn) n. Lightness, purity, pos- 
itive energy, adj. 1. To be so kind, honest, pure 
and lovable it's positively nauseating. 2. To be 
like the Teletubbies. (See also vader). 


grand moff (grand 
mof) n. The largest size of 
cappuccino served on the 
Death Star. 


leriiian Dictioparv 


hasbro (has, bro?) v. 
To toy with 
one's affections. 

ban solo (hann 
so? low) V. To go it 
alone, adj. By 
yourself (sans 
love interest) 
"Failing to find a date yet again this 
weekend, Mulder knew he 
would be spending another 
dismal night han solo'' 

jabba (jabbuh) v. 1. To let one 
self go. 2. To be quite well 
acquainted with the ugly stick. 
3. To resemble a large 
couch potato at the end 
of the football sea- 
son (including 
J Lm post-season 
^ wrap-up). 4 
To live life 

jar jar 


jarr) n. 
1. A major 
annoyance. Something unloved 
and unwanted. 2. Any person, 
place or thing which people avoid 
like the plague. "Little Will could 
never have guessed The Wild Wild 
West would turn out to be one big jar 

leia (lay, uh?) n. A delicate, petite, stately 
individual with a modest nobihty which 
masks a propensity toward extreme- 
ly violent actions, which may 
include bludgeoning 
choking, shooting and 
blowing stuff to bits, 
(But who's perfect, 


falkk ur.- 
forever Uj 

obi-wan (ol 
money. !■ 
humor tfacl 
the resok. 

cola (oc^ 
French warn 
out thai fiK 




Lite Sabre 

(light sabe' uh) 
proper n. Diet 
drink ver- 
^ sion of 
Less fining. 

lando (land oh?) adj. 
Unnecessary, added for no 
real reason. "Batgirl truly 
was the lando character of Batman & 

the lucas 
(luke' us) n. 
What gives a 
jedi his power. 
It's an energy field 
created by all living 
fans. It surrounds us. 
penetrates us, it binds 
the galaxy together. And it sells 
a lotta merchandise. 

luke (lewkk) n. A startling 
transformation. A thing 
once bland, now 
grand. "Who woulda 
thought that Bill 
Gates would ever 
turn into a full- 
fledged lukeT 

maul (mall) v. To 
have a very bad dis- 
position. Having Ut- 
tle or no love for 
men, women, small 

children, animals, birds, insects, the flag, baseball, 
Mom or apple pie. n. A mean, surly individual, rot- 
ten, a nogoodnik. One who by nature or circum- 
stance is just plain pissed. "That magazine editor 
used to be quite a mauU but he got even worse once 

Yodanyms Gatefold: Copyright 2000 Starlog Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

iry of Yo^nyms 

he became a publicist." 

millennium falcon (milly lenny um 
falkk unn) n. A bird possessing an 
extremely long lifespan, v. To take 
forever to complete a project or a 

obi-wan (o be wan) v. To take the 
money, hate the experience, 
humor the boss and bad-mouth 
the result. 

oola (oola) n. Oola or oola-la. 
French word for "Wow! Check 
out that fme, foxy female!" 

palpatine (pal pah' teen) n. 
He who is well-mannered 
and well-groomed, yet 
somehow insidious. 

qui-gon (guy gone?) v. 1 . 
To be in one place while 
vehemently wishing with all 
your heart you were 
anywhere else, really 
anywhere at all. 2. To 
reconsider your 
career after a partic- 
ular difficult experi- 
ence. "After three 
embarrassing films in a 
row, the British actor qui- 
gonned, retired and 
opened up a llama farm in 
Santa Catalina." 


rebo (ree' beau) n 
The hottest new 
sound in music 
today. An edgy, 
dangerous ear-split- 
ting form of 
"gangsta blues." 

sebulba (seh bulb uh) v. To 
move rapidly, quckly, swiftly, 
speedily, at great velocity. 
Look! To just flat-out book! 

seethreepio (see three pee 
oh) n. A craven, yellow cow- 
ard. "Dr. Smith, screaming 

with hysteria, proved once again he was a true 
seethreepio when the Kumquat Man smacked him 
with Spock's brain." 

6xmss lAKie 


shmi (shmee) v. To conceive immaculately or while otherwise well- 

skywalker (sky wokker) n. Any meek, mild-mannered individual 
who becomes more and more Forceful over a long period of time. 
"Gabrielle, it turns out, is a real skywalker. Don't you dare whonk 
her with Spock's brain!" 

stormtrooper (stormtrouper). n. Dead meat. Cannon fodder. 
Starship carrion. Lite Sabre leftovers. "That Wing Commander sure 
was stormtrooper^ 

tatooine (tattoo-eenn) 

To mutilate your face with ritualistic 


vader (vay' derr) n. 
Darkness, sinfulness, 
negative energy, adj. 
1. To be so nasty, 
dishonest, cor- 
rupt and evil 
that people 
instandy relate to you. 
2. Like a politician. 3. 
To be W7zlike the 
Teletubbies. (See also 

wamp rat (whomp!! wrat) n. A rat you 
really have to whomp to get its attention. 

wedge (wedg) n. A pain in the rear. ''Wedge 
Pull out. You're not doing any good back there! 
(See also wedgie). 

wicket (wikk 
cut) n. A 
minor annoy- 
ance. Any 
pesky, objec- 
tionably cute 
"Pikachu is 
such a 

Some wordStOffer 

gjjew hope. 



Defined by & 
Illustrated by 

wookiee (wook ee') adj. Big 
and hairy. To possess these 
qualities. "Women found 
Sean Connery's wookiee 
look quite hot." 

yavin (yavvv' vinn) n. A place 
where bad jokes come from. 
"We found the Yodanyms at a 
yavin not far from Cincinnati." 

yoda (yo, duoh?) v. 
Incomprehensibly infor- 
mation to offer, back- 
wards often. 


Explore the History efScienceJFiction in 

Order now while issues last! 

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Space: 1999 EP Guide. 
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#4 3-D SF Movie Guide. 
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Questor Tapes. 
Stuntwomen. Si 5. 

#31 Empire. 20.000 
Leagues Under the 
Sea. Chekov's 
Enterprise 2. S5. 

#32 Sound FX LP. Buck 
Rogers & Trek designs. 
Chekov's Enterprise 3. 

#33 Voyage EP Guide. 
Ellison review/s Trek. S5. 

#34 Tom Baker. Irv 
Kershner on Empire. 
Martian Chronicles. 
Buck Rogers. 315. 

#35 Billy Dee Williams. 
Empire & Voyage FX. 

#36 4th Anniversary. 
Nichols. Prowse. 
Glen Larson. Yvette 
Mimieux. 36. 

#37 Harrison Ford. Terry 
Dicks. First Men in the 
Moon. 35. 

#38 CE3K. Buck Rogers 
EP Guide. Kelley. 35. 

#39 Buck Rogers. Tom 
Corbett. Erin Gray. Fred 
Freiberger. 35. 

#40 Hamill. Gerard. 
Roddenberry. Jane 
Seymour. Freiberger 2. 
Empire FX. 35. 

#41 Sam Jones. 
John Carpenter. 35. 

#42 Robert Conrad. 
Mark Lenard. Dr. Who. 
Childhood's End. 36. 

#43 Altered States FX. 
David Cronenberg. 
Hulk EP Guide. 35. 

#44 Altered States. 
Bob Balaban. 35. 

#45 Peter Hyams. 
Thom Christopher. 
Escape from NY. 35. 

#46 Harry Hamlin. 
Superman II. Greatest 
American Hero. 35. 

#47 Takei. Sarah Douglas. 
Doug Adams. Outland. 35. 

#48 5th Anniversary. Bill 
Mumy. Ford. George 
Lucas. Carpenter. 36. 

#49 Kurt Russell. 
Adrienne Barbeau. 
Lucas 2. Takei. 007 FX. 

Raiders. 315. 
#50 Lucas 3. Spielberg. 
Sean Connery. Lawrence 
Kasdan. Ray Walston. 
Heavy Metal. 3100. 

#51 Kasdan 2. 
Shatner. Harryhausen. 
Roddenberry. Jerry 
Goldsmith. 35. 

#52 Blade Runner 
Shatner. $5. 

#53 Bradbury. Patrick 
Macnee. Blade Runner 

#54 3-D Issue. Bob Gulp. 
Connie Selleca. Terry 
Gilliam. Leslie Nielsen. 
Raiders FX. Trek 
bloopers. 35. 

#55 Quest for Fire. Philip 
K. Dick. Ed Bishop. Gulp 
2. Tnjmbull. Trek bloopers 
2. 35. 

#56 Zardoz. Triffids. Trek 
bloopers 3. 35. 

#57 Lost in Space Robot. 
Conan. Caroline Munro. 
Ron Cobb. 310. 

#58 Blade Runner The 
Thing. Syd Mead. Trek 
bloopers. 35. 

#59 The Thing. 
Arnold Schwarzenegger. 
Kirstie Alley. Merritt 
Butrick. 375. 

#60 6th Anniversary. Star 
Trek II. Carpenter. Scott. 
TRON. $6. 

#61. Tre/c// 2. Walter 
Koenig. Sean Young. 
Road Warrior SI 5. 

#62 Ricardo Montalban. 
Koenig 2. James Doohan. 
Ken Tobey. Dr. Who. 35. 

#63 Spielberg. Nimoy. 
Russell. Rutger Hauer. 
James Horner. 325. 

#64 David Warner. 
Peter Barton. Dr. Who. 
31 50. Rare. 

#65 Arthur C. Clarke. 
Hamill. EI FX. Dark 
Crystal. 35. 

#66 Dark Crystal. 
Frank Herbert. 
Frank Marshall. 35. 

#67 TRON. -Man Who 
Killed Spock." Trek II FX. 

#68 007. Harve Bennett. 
Richard Maibaum. S5. 

#69 Anthony Daniels. 
Tom Mankiewicz. Jedi. 

#70 Man from U.N. CLE. 
Debbie Harry. Chris Lee. 
John Badham. $5. 

#71 Carrie Fisher. Judson 
Scott. Dan O'Bannon. V. 

#72 7th Anniversary. 
Bradbury. Hamill. Shatner. 
Roger Moore. June 

Lockhart. S6. 

#73 Cliff Robertson. 
Robert Vaughn. Roy 
Scheider. Jason Robards. 
Hamill 2. $5. 

#74 Molly Ringwald. 
Michael Ironside. Malcolm 
McDowell. Lorenzo 
Semple. 35. 

#75 Nancy Allen. John 
Lithgow. George Lazenby. 
McQuarrie. Semple 2. 35. 

#76 Buster Crabbe. Sybil 
Danning. 36. 

#77 Phil Kaufman. Chuck 
Yeager. Tom Baker. 
Trumbull. 35. 

#78 Ferrigno. Meyer. 
Clarke. Trumbull 2. 
Scott Glenn. 
Lance Henriksen. 35. 

#79 Dennis Quaid. 
Kershner. Jon Pertwee. 
David Hasselhoff. 35. 

#80 Billy Dee Williams. 
Anthony Ainley. 
Jed/ FX 1.35. 

#81 Alan Dean Foster. 
Fred Ward. Veronica 
Cartwright. Greystoke. 
Buckaroo Banzai. 35. 

#82 Schwarzenegger. 
Max von Sydow. Chris 
Lloyd. Faye Grant. Dr 
Who. Jedi FX 2. 34. 

#83 Kate Capshaw. Robin 
Curtis. Fritz Leiber. 
Marshall. Dr. Who. V. 310. 

#84 8th Anniversary. 
Nimoy Frank Oz. Chris 
Lambert. Marc Singer. B. 
Banzai. Jedi FX 3. 36. 

#85 Jim Henson. 
Jeff Goldbium. 
Bob Zemeckis. Ivan 
Reitman. Dante. 35. 

#86 Peter Weller. John 
Sayles. Chris Columbus. 
Rick Moranis. Lenard. 
Jedi FX 4. 3100. 

#87 Ghostbusters FX. 
Kelley Prowse. David 
Lynch. 2010. Blade 
Runner 35. 

#88 Terminator 
Kelley 2. Keir Dullea. 
V. Dune. Gremlins. 36. 

#89 Jane Badler. Helen 
Slater. Patrick Troughton. 
Jim Cameron. Irish 
McCalla. Starman. 
Buckaroo Banzai. 35. 

#90 Scheider. Karen 
Allen. Ironside. Dean 
Stockwell. 3200. Rare. 

#91 Koenig. Michael 
Crichton. V. Dune. 
Terminator 310. 

#92 Carpenter. Tom 
Selleck. Gilliam. Brazil. 
Barbarella. 35. 

#93 Donner. Lithgow. 
John Hurt. Robert 

Englund. Simon Jones. 
Dr Who. Jedi FX 5. Monty 
Python. 310. 

#94 Doohan. Sayles. 
William Katt. John Barry. 
Michelle Pfeiffer. V. Jedi 
FX 6. 35. 

#95 Grace Jones. 
Matthew Broderick. 
Butrick. Hauer. Mad Max 
III. Cocoon. 35. 

#96 9th Anniversary. Peter 
Gushing. Jonathan Harris. 
Tina Turner. John Cleese. 
Moore. Jedi FX 7. 86. 

#97 Mel Gibson. Ron 
Howard. River Phoenix. 
Chris Walken. Donner. 
Glenn. BTTF 310. 

#98 Michael J. Fox. 
George Miller. Dante. 
Jennifer Beals. 35. 

#99 Anthony Daniels. 
Zemeckis. "Cubby" 
Broccoli. Mad Max. 35. 

#100 Lucas. Nimoy. 
Carpenter. Ellison. 
Harryhausen. Nichols. 
Matheson. Gushing. 
Roddenberry. Irwin Allen. 

#101 Ellison. Ridley 
Scott. Sting. Roddy 
McDowall. Macnee. Takei. 
Fred Ward. 35. 

#102 Spielberg. 
Mel Blanc. Michael 
Douglas. Irwin Allen 2. 
Alley. Doug Adams. Peter 
Davison. 35. 

#103 Daryl Hannah. 
Hauer. Rob Bottin. Elmer 
Bernstein. 35. 

#104 Peter Mayhew. 
Stephen Collins. Ken 
Johnson. V. Outer Limits. 

#105 Lambert. Colin 
Baker. Jonathan Pryce. 
Grace Lee Whitney. 
Planet of the Apes. VEP 
Guide. Japanimation. 35. 

#106 Nimoy Tim Curry. 
Clancy Brown. Terry 
Nation. ALIENS. 
Japanimation. 35. 

#107 Henson. Tom 
Cruise. Dicks. W.D. 
Richter. Jean M. Auel. 
ALIENS. 35. 

#108 10th Anniversary. 
Roddenberry. Russell. 
Martin Landau. Chuck 
Jones. Michael Biehn. 
Rod Taylor. David 
Hedison. BTTF V. 36. 

#109 Sigoumey Weaver. 
Henson. Carpenter. Takei. 
Ally Sheedy. Melanie 
Griffith. 35. 

#110 Bradbury. Cameron. 
Cronenberg. Nimoy. 
Geena Davis. Bob Gale. 

#111 Columbus. Sarah 
Douglas. Nick Courtney. 
Martin Caidin. Trek IV. 


#113 Doohan. Robert 
Bloch. Rick Baker. 
Little Shop of Horrors. 
Starman TV. 350. 

#114 Nimoy. Guy 
Williams. Robert Hays. 
Gareth Thomas. 3100. 

#116 Majel Barrett. Robin 
Curtis. Whitney. Paul 
Darrow. Nichols. Dr. Who. 

#117 Catherine Mary 
Stewart. Adam West. 
Frank Oz. Nation. Lenard. 
Robocop. 35. 

#118 Shatner. Rod Taylor. 
Jeff Morrow. Michael 
Keating. D.C. Fontana. 
George RR Martin. 310. 

#119 Takei. Kerwin 
Matthews. Doc Savage. 

#121 Reeve. Mel Brooks. 
Dante. Lithgow. Weller. 
Henriksen. Karen Allen. 
Jacqueline Pearce. 310. 

#122 007 Film Salute. 
Martin Short. Duncan 
Regehr. Robocop. Lost 
Boys. Snow White. 375. 

#123 Nancy Allen. Dolph 
Lundgren. Tim Dalton. 
Robocop. ST:TNG. 375. 

#124 Burt Ward. Kevin 
McCarthy. Gary 
Lockwood. Courteney 
Cox. ST:TNG. 315. 

#125 Bruce Dern. Gerry 
Anderson. Carpenter. 
Cameron. Princess Bride. 

#126 Marina Sirtis. 
Macnee. Bill Paxton. 
Michael Praed. Robert 
Hays. Maureen 
O'Sullivan. B&B. 35. 

#127 Lucas. Harryhausen. 
Davison. Kathleen 
Kennedy Gates 
McFadden. Robocop. 350. 

#128 John de Lancie. 
Ron Periman. James Eari 
Jones. William Campbell. 
Weller. Dan-ow. Koenig. 
Prowse. Bradbury. 350. 

#129 William Windom. 
Wil Wheaton. Robert 
Shayne. Michael 
Cavanaugh. Starman. 
Robocop. 375. 

#130 Tim Burton. Denise 
Crosby. Jack Larson. 
Pertwee. Munro. B&B. 35. 

#131 Jonathan Frakes. 
Hays. Geena Davis. 
Larson 2. B&B. Robocop. 

#132 12th Anniversary. 
Howard. Alan Young. 
Russ Tamblyn. Janet 
Leigh. Colin Baker. 
Robocop. Roger Rabbit. 
Beetlejuice ST:TNG FX. 

#133 Bob Hoskins. C.J. 
Cherryh. Roy Dotrice. 
Patrick Culliton. Sirtis. 
Goldsmith. Badler. R. 
Rabbit. V. B&B. 310. 

#134 Zemeckis. Crosby. 
Cherryh 2. James Caan. 
Ken Johnson. Sylvester 
McCoy. Big. 35. 

#135 R. Rabbit. B7. 
Patrick McGoohan. 
Jerry Sohl. Marta Kristen. 
Van Williams. Alien 
Nation. 36. 

#136 Mandy Patinkin. 
Jock Mahoney. Carpenter. 
Sohl 2. Trek: Lost 
Generation. 35. 

#137 t^arshaW.War of the 
Worlds. 35. 

#138 Michael Dom. John 
Larroquette. Jean-Claude 
Van Damme. John 
Schuck. Lenard. Phyllis 
Coates. John Colicos. R. 
Rabbit. B7. 35. 

#139 Patrick Stewart. 
Gareth Thomas. Landau. 
Coates 2. Nigel Kneale. 
Phantom of the Opera. 35. 

#140 Bill Murray. Kneale 
2. Wheaton. Rex Reason. 
Eric Stoltz. B&B. 35. 

#141 Diana Muldaur. 
Jared Martin. Amanda 
Pays. Gilliam. Bennett. 
Kneale 3. 35. 

#143 Periman. Kelley. 
Robert Picardo. Tracy 
Torme. Indy. Batman. SF 
costuming. 350. 

#144 13th Anniversary. 
Shatner. Richard Chaves. 
Kim Basinger. Harry 
Harrison. Roger Rabbit 
FX 1. Indy Hi Batman. 

#145 Tim Burton. John 
Rhys-Davies. William 
Gibson. Shatner 2. 
Dalton. Moranis. Cobb. 
RR FX 2. 36. 

#146 Matt Frewer. Andre 
Norton. Phil Akin. Cesar 
Romero. Doohan. Takei. 
Abyss. RR FX 3.310. 

#147 Danny Elfman. 
Nimoy. John Variey. River 
Phoenix. Norton 2. 
Koenig. CD Barnes. B7 
EP Guide. RR FX 4. 310. 

#148 Tony Jay. Julie 
Newmar. Chaves. Biehn. 
Warner. RRFX 5. S7EP 
G 2. 3125. 

#149 Yvonne Craig. 
Robert Lansing. BTTF 2. 
RR FX 6. 35. 

#150 Ben Bova. Curt 
Siodmak. Dick. Nation. 
Zemeckis. Matheson. 
Cameron. Johnson. 35. 

#151 Fox. Crosby. 
Matheson 2. Nichols. Jim 
Cobum. Gary Conway. 
Gary Graham. 35. 

#152 Leslie Stevens. 

Gareth Hunt. Jay 
Acovone. A. Nation. B&B. 
"Real Indy." S5. 

#153 Bradbury. Lee 
Meriwether. Scott Bakula. 
Edward Albert. B&B. A. 
Nation. S5. 

#154 Ron Koslow. Sally 
Kellerman. T. Recall. 
BTTF3. S5. 

Mastrantonio. Creature 
from Black Lagoon. 86. 

#168 15th Anniversary. 
Terminator 2. Lost in 
Space. Michael 
Moorcock. S7. 

#169 Schwarzenegger. 
Roald Dahl. Alan Arkin. 
Bill & Ted 2. Robocop 3. 
Dr. Who. S7. 

Van Damme. Roland 
Emmerich. Voyage 
writers 2. B5. 87. 

#183 Danny DeVito. 
Pfeiffer. Walken. Tim 
Powers. Chad Oliver. 
Young Indy. Voyage 
writers 3. 87. 

#184 Blade Runner 
Salute. Scott. Stephen 
Donaldson. Quantum 
Leap. 87. 

#185 Highlander. Old 
Indy. Zemeckis. Robert 
Sheckley. Immortal 1. 87. 

#186 Stewart. Anne 
Francis. Adrian Paul. 
DS9. Red Dwarf. 
Immortal 2. 87. 

#187 Rick Berman. 
Gordon Scott. Craig 
Charles. DS9. Time Trax. 

#188 Terry Farrell. Doug 
Adams. Chris Barrie. 
Andreas Katsulas. 
Bennett. 810. 

#189 Dale Midkiff. Robert 
Patrick. DS9. 87. 

#190 Armin Shimerman. 
Mark Goddard. Anne 
McCaffrey. Danny 
Jchn-Jules. Daniel Davis. 
Koenig. 810. 

#191 Rene Auberjonois. 
Lucas. Jurassic Park. 87. 

#192 17th Anniversary. 
Spiner. Crichton. Frederik 
Pohl. 87. 

#193 Schwarzenegger. 
Chris Lloyd. Jurassic 
Park. 87. 

#194 Fay Wray. Brian 
Bonsall. Jurassic Park. 87. 

#195 Piller. Praed. 
Ann Robinson. 25 best 
Next Generation. 87. 

#196 Sylvester Stallone. 
Sirtis. Hatch. Richard 
Llewelyn. Alan Hunt. 87. 

#197 Bruce Campbell. 

Wesley Snipes. Michael 
Whelan. Peter Davison. 
Jonathan Brandis. 850. 

#198 Lockhart. James 
Bama. Ted Raimi. 87. 

#199 Nana Visitor. 
McCoy. John Barry. John 
D'Aquino. TekWar. 87. 

#200 200 Most Important 
People in SF. Gibson. Gale 
Ann Hurd. Tim Burton. 
Dante. Bova. Gilliam. 815. 

#201 Chris Carter. 
Alexander Siddig. Colin 
Baker. Red Dwarf. X- 
Files. 87. 

#202 David Duchovny. 
Mira Furlan. Stephanie 
Beacham. Ernie Hudson. 
X-Files. 87. 

#203 Rod Serling. Ray 
Liotta. Jerry Doyle. 87. 

#204 18th Anniversary. 
Claudia Christian. Julius 
Carry. Frakes. McFadden. 

#205 Michelle Forbes. 
Lionel Jeffries. Gerry 
Anderson. The t^ask. 
8125. Rare. 

#206 de Lancie. Peter 
Beagle. Time Cop. 
Invaders writers 1 . 87. 

#207 Avery Brooks. 

Van Damme. Moorcock, 
/nvac^ers writers 2. 815. 

#208 Michael O'Hare. 
Ed Wood. 87. 

#209 StarGate. 
Generations. Helena 
Bonham Carter. Andrea 
Thompson. 87. 

#210 West. Barrett. 
Nichols. Brown. Mario 
Van Peebles. X-Files. 
MST3K. 87. 

#211 Voyager. Kevin 
Sorbo. Jerry Hardin. 
Kenneth Branagh. 
Debrah Farentino. 
Russell. Wise. 87. 

#212 Kate Mulgrew. 

Shatner. Stewart. Bakuia. 
Lambert. Geraint Wyn 
Davies. X-F/7es . 8100. 

#213 Gillian Anderson. 
Bnjce Boxleitner. Malcolm 
McDowell. CD Barnes. 
Robert D. McNeill. 
Jessica Steen. 87. 

#214 Mumy. Roxann 
Dawson. Rebecca 
Gayheart. Species. Outer 
Limits. 87. 

#215 Duchovny. 
Michael Gough. 
Donald Pleasence. 
Nigel Bennett. 87. 

#216 19th Anniversary. 
Picardo. Bill Pullman. 
Richard Dean Anderson. 
Antonio Sabato Jr. 87. 

#217 Chris O'Donnell. 
Marshall. Howard. Nimoy. 
Piller. William Alland. 
Species. 87. 

#218 Jim Carrey. Stan 
Winston. Crosby. 
Kennedy. Alland 2. 87. 

#219 Kevin Costner. 
Stephen Furst. Dorn. 
Nimoy. Alland 3. Writing 
Lost in Space 1 . 87. 

#220 Jennifer Hetrick. 
Space: Above & Beyond. 
X-Files. Writing L/S 2. 87. 

#221 Chris Carter, de 
Lancie. Spiner. Barry 
Morse. Toy Story. 87. 

#222 Lucy Lawless. 
Dwight Schultz. Garrett 
Wang. Cameron. Gilliam. 
Auberjonois. 87. 

#223 Michael Hurst. Roy 
Thinnes. Verhoeven. 
Weller. Koenig. 87. 

#224 Bruce Willis. Robin 
Williams. Kristen Cloke. 
Ford. Lithgow. 87. 

#225 Mitch Pileggi. 
Michael Ansara. 
Thompson. Hercules FX. 
MST3K. Sliders. 87. 

#226 Jason Carter. 
Sabrina Lloyd. Day in the 

Trek. X-Files. 87. 

#227 Jennifer Lien. Nick 
Tate. Meaney. Dr. Who. 
B5. X-Files. 87. 
#228 20th Anniversary. 
Goldblum. O'Bannon. 
Mulgrew. John 
Frankenheimer. John 
Phillip Law. ID4. 810. 

=229 ID4. Ethan Phillips. 
Dina Meyer. Paxton. 87. 

=230 Will Smith. 

Jeff Conaway. 

Van Peebles. ID4. 87. 

#231 Tre/c 30th Salute. 
Voyager \am interview. 
Auberjonois. Shimerman. 
Writing Buck Rogers 1 . 87. 

#232 Russell. Dom. 
Keaton. Emmerich. 
Ed Wasser. Writing Buck 
2. 87. 

#233 Gillian Anderson. 
Stewart. Frakes. Koenig. 
Torme. 87. 

#234 Peter Jurasik. 
Tim Burton. Star Wars. 
"Tribbles." 87. 

#235 Neil Gaiman. 
French Stewart. Robert 
Trebor. Doyle. Carrey. 
Elfman. 87. 

#236 Star Wars 20th 
Salute. Hamill. Daniels. 
Renee O'Connor. Alice 
Krige. 810. 

#237 Lucas. Lawless. 
Cronenberg. Spiner. 
Andrew Robinson. 
Highlander. Buffy. 
X-Files. 87. 

#238 Sorbo. Christian. 
Tim Russ. LeVar Burton. 
Indy. Dr Who. 87. 

#239 Michael Caine. 
Richard Biggs. Howard 
Gordon 1 . Luc Besson. 
Hauer. Xena FX. Sinbad. 
X-Files. Highlander. 
Spawn. 87. 

#240 21st Anniversary. 
Rhys-Davies. de Lancie. 
Winston. Gordon 2. Men 
in Black. Contact Star 
Wars. 87. 

#241 Jodie Foster. Rick 
Baker. Goldblum. Brown. 
MiB. Contact. 87. 

#242 Will Smith. Barry 
Sonnenfeld. Ironside. 
Event Horizon. KulL 
Spawn. Star Wars. 87. 

#243 Mimic. MiB. Glen 
Larson. Robert Beitran. 
Aron Eisenberg. Erin 
Gray. Joseph LoDuca. 
. Zemeckis. V^. 87. 

! #244 Max Grodenchik. 
I Casper Van Dien. 
I Stewart. Earth: Final 
Conflict. X-Files. MiB.ST. 


I #245 Starship Troopers. 

■ Verhoeven. X-Files. 
I Hercules. Stargate 
I SG-1. 87. 

I #246 Alien Resurrection. 

Tomorrow Never Dies. 
I Weaver. Ethan Hawke. 
I Rare! 875. 

I #247 Jimmy Stewart. 
I Pierce Brosnan. Winona 

■ Ryder. David McCallum. 
I Leni Parker. Ted Raimi. 
_ Weaver. Visitor. Furian. 

■ Periman. Benedict. 
I Ferrigno. 87. 

I #248 Jonathan Harris. 
I William B. Davis. Von 
Flores. Costner. Steve 
I Railsback. Rare! 875. 

' #249 Jeri Ryan. Tracy 
I Scoggins. Crusade. Lost 
I in Space. SG-1. 810. 

I #250 Duchovny. Berman. 
Bennett. Van Dien. Gary 

Oldman. From the Earth 
to the Moon. Lost in 
Space. Deep Impact. 87. 

#251 Heather Graham. 
Matt LeBlanc. Hudson 
Leick. X-Files. Deep 
Impact. SG-1. 87. 

#252 22nd Anniversary. 
Chris Carter. Nimoy 
Boxleitner. Jerry 
O'Connell. Eari Holliman. 
Mask ofZorro. 
Armageddon. 88. 

#253 Antonio Banderas. 
Ben Affleck. Dante. Kari 
Wuhrer. B5. 87. 

#254 Uma Thurman. 
Kirsten Dunst. Catherine 
Zeta-Jones. Farrell. 
Pileggi. Steen. Rare. 

#255 Gillian Anderson. 
Marc Alaimo. Snipes. 
Sean Patrick Flanery. 
Hatch. Jefferson. 
Galactica. 87. 

#256 Elizabeth Gracen. 
Matheson. Antz. X-Files. 
7 Days. Pleasantville. 

#257 Robert Leeshock. 
Norman Lloyd. Stewart. 
Shatner. Carpenter. B5. 

#258 Justina Vail. Kevin 
(Ares) Smith. Russell. 
Frakes. Frewer. A Bug's 
Life. 87. 

#259 Sirtis. Rick Baker. 
Nation. B5. Batman 
Beyond. 87. 

#260 Bruce Campbell. 
Kevin Bacon. Lou 
Diamond Phillips. Piller. 
EFC. Wonder Woman. 

#261 Laurence 
Fishburne. Michael 
Easton. Phil Brown. 
Spiner. Farscape. Art of 
Matrix. 87. 

#262 Samuel L. Jackson. 
Matt Greening. Carrie- 
Anne Moss. Reeves. 
Freddie Prinze Jr. 
Wachowskis. Bulloch. 
Franklin. Matrix. 875. 

#263 Ewan McGregor. 
Nicole deBoer. 
Cronenberg. Tarzan. 
Mummy. Matrix FX. 835. 

#264 23rd Anniversary. 
Gary Cole. Joe 
Pantoliano. Jude Law. 
Warren Stevens. 
Shimerman. Tarzan. 
Matrix. Phantom Menace. 

#265 Lucas. Mike Myers. 
Liam Neeson. Jake Lloyd. 
Van Damme. Siddig. 
Sonnenfeld. Young Here. 
Tarzan. 810. 

#266 Kelley tribute. 
McDiarmid. Will Smith. 
Kevin Kline. Mystery Men. 
Iron Giant. Tarzan. 87. 

#267 Berman. Eric Idle. 
Branagh. Sebastian 
Spence. Geoffrey Rush. 
Shiriey Eaton. Pernilla 
August. Crusade. 87. 

#268 Chris Carter. 
Mulgrew. de Lancie. 
Darren. O'Connor. Oz. 
Roswell. Iron Giant. 89. 

#269 Weaver. McNeill. 
Sorbo. Steve Reeves. 
Ray Park. Daniel 
Goddard. Toy Story 2. 89. 

#270 Nimoy Tim Allen. 
Natalie Portman. Galaxy 
Quest. 89. 

#271 TBA. 89. 

#272 TBA. 89. 

#1 55 Phil Farmer. Nancy 
Allen. Paul Winfield. Colm 
Meaney. Ironside. 
Flatliners. BTTF 3. 85. 

#156 14th Anniversary. 
Schwarzenegger. Gale. 
Dorn. Nielsen. Dante. 
Farmer 2. Starman EP 
Guide. 86. 

#157 Paul Verhoeven. 
Ronny Cox. Marshall. 
Weller. Walston. 
Flatliners. 85. 

#158 Chris Lee. Kershner. 
Haldeman. Darkman. 85. 

#159 Orson Scott Card. 
Nicolas Roeg. Michael 
Piller. Leiber. Land of 
G/anfs writers. 810. 

#160 Whoopi Goldberg. 
Kim Hunter. GRR Martin. 
Eric Pierpoint. Ghost. 
Flash. Giants 2. 85. 

#161 Jane Wyatt. Martin 
2. Suzie Plakson. Liam 
Neeson. Ghost. Robin of 
Sherwood. 86. 

#162 Stockwell. Patrick 
Swayze. LeVar Burton. Val 
Guest. Don Matheson. 86. 

#163 Mumy Guest 2. 
McFadden. B&B. B7. 86. 

#164 Dan Aykroyd. John 
Agar. Richard Denning. 
Tim Burton. Jerome 
Bixby Alien Nation. 86. 

#165 Dick. FX 2. 86. 

#166 Robin Hood. 
Rocketeer. Mark Ryan. 
WWorlds EP Guide. 86. 

#167 Pertwee. Mary E. 

=170 Cameron. Keanu 
Reeves. Robert 
Patrick. 72. BTTF 
Dr Who. Time Tunnel 
writers. 87. 

=171 Brent Spiner. 
Gilliam. Fred 
Saberhagen. T2. Tunnel 
writers 2. 850. 

= 172 Koenig. Brian 
Aldiss. B7. B&B. 86. 

#173 Kelley. Frakes. 
Bakula. Ten Garr. Alien 
Nation EP Guide. 810. 

#174 Stewart. Nimoy. 
Takei. Lambert. 86. 

#175 Roddenberry 
Salute. Shatner. Dorn. 
Nichols. Macnee. 
Star Wars. 88. 

#176 Anthony Hopkins. 
Doohan. Kim Cattrall. 
Wheaton. Jon Lovitz. 
Kathy Ireland. 87. 

#177 Nick Meyer. 
Carpenter. Tarzan. 87. 

#178 Batman Returns. 
Honey I Blew Up the Kid. 
Universal Soldier Young 
Indy. 87. 

#179 Tim Thomerson. 
Robert Colbert. B&B. 
ALIEN. 88. 

#180 16th Anniversary. 
Tim Burton. James 
Darren. Mariette Hartley 
Henriksen. 87. 

#181 Asimov tribute. 
Deanna Lund. Stuart 
Gordon. Lundgren. 
Voyage writers. 87. 

#182 Lloyd Bridges. 


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Terry Pratchett just may be 
the funniest writer in the 
science-fiction universe. Really. 
We're not kidding. 

□n its ear yet again witli 

For about two decades, 
Terry Pratchett has been 
amusing readers with his 
tales of Discworld, the 
richly detailed fantasy uni- 
verse that has been fea- 
tured in 24 novels, as well 
as stage productions, animated 
series and a veritable mountain of 
Discworld-related memorabilia. 

STARLOG/May 2000 53 


Art: Carl D. Galian 


THE Color 


vampires look 
for a less batty 
kind of 

existence when 
they Carpe 

Explorations of 
began with 
1983 novel The 
Color of Magic. 
It was spelled 
Colour in 
England, and 
you bloody well 
know it! 





>aperb popular entertainment 
-Washington Post Book World 

Pratchett, who has been compared to 
Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut and Carl 
Hiaasen, first created Discworld as an anti- 
dote to the explosion of bad fantasy books of 
the late 1970s. His 1983 novel The Colour of 
Magic lampooned everyone from Michael 
Moorcock to Anne McCaffrey, and that was 
just for openers. In the years to come, Pratch- 
ett would roast just about every sacred cow in 
the genre, serving them up with spicy sauce 
and his own uniquely irreverent spin. 

Fantastic Lights 

For those who have been living in a fanta- 
sy-free zone these last several years (or 
didn't read the previous Pratchett interview 
in STARLOG), Discworld is a flat circular 
planet that is supported on the backs of four 
elephants, which in turn stand on the back of 
a giant turtle that floats through interstellar 
space. It's a world filled with magic and bar- 
barians, although the former is rather diffi- 
cult to control and the latter aren't terribly 

Among Pratchett' s colorful cast of char- 
acters are Granny Weatherwax, the greatest 
witch on Discworld (or so she believes); 
Rincewind, a staggeringly inept wizard; 
Cohen the Barbarian, once Discworld's num- 
ber one hero, but getting on a bit now; the 
Librarian of Unseen University, who was 
transformed into a 300-pound orangutan by a 
runaway spell: and Death, who ALWAYS 

Pratchett's latest 
Discworld novel 
is The Fifth Elephant. 
Remember that! 
Forget ail other 
elephant books. 
Buy this one. 

actually a jolly nice chap when you get to 
know him. 

With Pratchett's newest Discworld novel. 
The Fifth Elephant (named after the mythical 
fifth pachyderm of legend), the British 
author cooks up another rich stew of weird 
and wonderful ingredients, including an 
impending dwarf coronation, the latest in 
medieval telecommunications, the value of 
stone-hard baked goods, a gang of lycan- 
thropes, a 12-stepping vampire and a whole 
lotta guys named Igor. 

As The Fifth Elephant sees print in Amer- 
ica from Harper Prism this month (alongside 
past Discworld efforts repubUshed with new 
covers), Pratchett is happy to spend time dis- 
cussing all things Discworld, a subject in 
which he's the undisputed expert. What isn't 
as easy to explain, however, is the process by 
which one of the novels is created. 'The rea- 
son I'm hesitant," explains Pratchett, "is that 
however we describe the whole idea and cre- 
ative process, we are using digital language 
to talk about an analog process, so everything 

""If the end falls off your plastic 
llghtsaber, that nice Mr. George Lucas is 
going to be entirely unmoved, whereas 

i/Vrj£3jj, I am the person who's going 
to get the angry e-mail/' 

54 STARLOG/May 2000 

and her 
women first 
blew into 
fame for 
Equal Rites. 

Be careful 
what you 
wish for, 
hacker Eric 
you may get 
the wizard 

After taking 
on an 
apprentice in 
the maybe- 
Mo/t, Death 
spoke anew IN 
Reaper Man. 

And what is 


It's a flat 



by four 


standing on 

the back of 

a turtle 





"The established professional author 
knows exactly how to deal with this sort of 
thing, which is to say, uri arid 

tell yL_ v.-i - I z^- ^--.^ - you.' " 

I say is post-facto reasoning. Later on, if 
pressed, you can make an attempt at explain- 
ing why you did it that particular way, but at 
the time, it makes as much sense to ask the 
tightrope walker how he's keeping his bal- 
ance. Much of the stuff in The Fifth Elephant 
came from re-reading the Discworld books 
and saying, 'OK, so we've got this and this. 
Logically, what is the kind of thing that can 

was also quite interested in the society 
of the dwarves, how it would really operate. 
That's occasionally the fault in fantasy soci- 
eties. Let's take Middle Earth, for example; it 
did strike me as I read [The Lord of the 
Rings] that I wasn't actually aware of the 
world's civilizations. There were the dwarves 
and they lived in mines over that way, and 
there were the elves, but I never quite under- 
stood in basic terms how the fresh water was 
getting in and where the sewage was going. 
You were given enough information for the 
story, and yet to me there seemed to be a hol- 
lowness. Armies seemed to come out of 
nowhere, fight and march back into nowhere 
again. It's why, oddly enough, many of the 
later Discworld books tend to take place in 
the city, and I tried to make it a city that con- 
tinues to operate even if the story characters 
aren't around." 

While Pratchett's work almost never 
preaches to the reader, the Discworld charac- 
ters invariably behave in human ways, even 
when they're clearly non-human. When it 
comes to racial tolerance for instance, the 
dwarves aren't fond of trolls, vampires and 
witches have had problems living side by 
side, and neither humans nor wolves trust 
werewolves and vice versa. "Without giving 
away too much, one of the things that struck 
me as I was toying with ideas is that within 
'modem' media mythology, what Joe Public 
knows about vampires and werewolves is 
largely a construct of the movie industry over 
the last 80 years. It seemed odd to me that 
wolves and werewolves appear to be associ- 
ated, in the sense that werewolves can go and 
run with the wolves, when a moment's 
thought suggests that a werewolf would 
smell wrong and would be even more repre- 
hensible to a true wolf than it would be to a 
human being, so a werewolf is actually stuck 
between the two species. I thought that was 
an interesting point." 

Guards! Guards! 

Ironically, the most racially integrated 
group in the city of Ankh-Morpork mms out 
to be the City Watch, with a roster that 
includes dwarves, trolls, a werewolf (vege- 
tarian), a zombie and a golem. 'A police 
force is a very good organization for a writer, 
for all kinds of reasons," says Pratchett. 'The 
police tend to have far more freedom in soci- 

ety, and the nature of their job takes them 
into all kinds of places. 

"Also, and this is a fact that others have 
commented on, is after a while, policeman 
can get into a state of mind [that segregates 
the populace into] policemen and other peo- 
ple. It's easy to deal with it in Discworld 
terms, because they don't have the overtones. 
If you're a dwarf, dwarves hate trolls, but this 
copper here is a troll. So you might make 
some racist remark about trolls, but mentally 
you've written that particular troll out of this 
remark because he's a copper and may be 
backing you up. He shares a view of the 
world that you have, a view that has been 
forced on you over the years because of the 
vicissitudes of a policeman's life. Therefore, 
he's not exactly a troll because he's a copper, 
and in certain circumstances, this becomes 
very useful." 

In this case, the cop in question is Com- 
mander Vimes, a major character who's defi- 
nitely much better at running the City Watch 
than playing reluctant diplomat to a dwarf 
kingdom in turmoil. "The guy is not particu- 
larly bright," notes Pratchett. "He's a fighter 
and is fairly screwed up in a number of ways. 
He has made high-speed progress through 
society, so that he's now quite close to the top 
everywhere but his own mind. 

"In The Fifth Elephant, he can't really 
deal with the problems that he's presented 
with until he can see [it in terms of a] crime. 
Once he works out that he's deaUng with a 
crime, all his policeman's instincts work. As 
a diplomat, though, he's a fish out of water." 

Most of the action in The Fifth Elephant 
takes place in Uberwald, a land of darkness 
and monsters, which gives Pratchett ample 
opportunity to lampoon some of the conven- 
tions of classic horror. That means for exam- 
ple, the local vampires will put up signs 
warning people away from their castles, 
knowing that some pinhead will come a- 
knocking just 10 minutes later. 

"One of the mainstays of Discworld is 
taking a given of a particular genre and say- 
ing, 'OK, this is what we've always been 
told, now let us see how it works.' I don't 
think there's anything specifically horrifying 
about werewolves or vampires, it's only 
some of the things they do when seen from 
other people's perspective. Lady Margolotta, 
who's kind of the recovering vampire in The 
Fifth Elephant, says if you're a high-bom 
vampire, there are people who would be 
quite pleased to be victims, provided it only 
happened once every month or two and they 
got to have dinner with you afterwards. Soci- 
eties find ways of making things normal." 

Also lampooning genre conventions are 
the Igors, a group of servants who are all 
related and act as Uberwald 's surgeons and 
eventual organ donors. Once an Igor dies, his 

■ost Harper Prism Editions Art: 
■chael Sabanosh 

STARLOG/Mdzv 2000 55 

Lords and 
provided a 
vehicle for 
star Granny 
as she 
cute elves. 

It riA i'l.'.u holt is fast, tunny and Roinn pl.n «.■>• 
—Piers Anthony 

'It's like El ij^yrjrf rryjuij unr id tjb £j3iiirt/' 

body is divided up among his fellow Igors so 
that nothing goes to waste — which means 
quite literally, that nobody leaves an Igor 
funeral empty-handed. "They're too good to 
give up," says Pratchett, "and that's why I 
made certain that one went back to Ankh- 
Morpork at the end. 

"The plays based on Discworld are very 
popular. The Fifth Elephant had only been 
out a few weeks [in England] before I went to 
the first play, and Igor's funeral got a stand- 
ing ovation. All these identical, very familiar- 
looking Igors are walking somberly across 
the stage, each of them carrying refrigerated 
boxes, and the last one is carrying a suit on a 
coat hanger and a pair of boots. Every part of 
an Igor is reusable, and in a sense, that is hor- 
ror. We now live in a society where spare part 
surgery is commonplace, and from that 
point-of-view, perhaps the Igors seems a lit- 
tle less horrifying than once they did." 

Colorful Magics 

Like the previous Discworld novels, The 
Fifth Elephant is filled with obscure — but 
sometimes blatantly obvious — references, 
from the dwarf icon, the Scone of Stone (a 
reversal on a Scottish artifact called the 
Stone of Scone) to a trio of morose cherry- 
orchard hating women who Vimes encoun- 
ters while being pursued by a pack of 
werewolves. "That's one of the nice things 
about Disc world," says Pratchett. "I hadn't 
thought it that at the time, but because there 
is this eastern European feel to Uberwald, 
there is Vimes running along, and suddenly 
we run straight into an Anton Chekov parody 
[of The Cherry Orchard]. His plays I think 
could occasionally have been done with a bit 
of lightness, so a naked man hurtling past 
was a good start. It was fun to do, and I need- 
ed Vimes to get somewhere to catch his 
breath before he had to stand and fight. So 
suddenly I've got these three biddies in there. 
That was a wonderful case of serendipity." 

Although The Fifth Elephant is just now 
reaching American shores, Pratchett has 
already moved on to several new projects, 
including The Truth, his 25th Discworld 
novel. "I'm working on the editor's draft 
right now. I'm also doing some of the copy 
for the next Discworld diary, because there is 
now the tradition of a Discworld diary com- 
ing out at Christmas every year. 

"I'm tinkering with the ideas for the next 
Discworld book. I've got an open file on a 
big illustrated project I'm involved with. The 
Last Hero, which I'm doing with artist Paul 
Kidby. I've done the working draft of that, 
he's now working on the illustrations and I'm 
amending the story as illustrations get done. 
That's an interesting joint effort, so life is 

As for Discworld novel #26, "It hasn't 
even got a working title, let alone a real one," 
reports Pratchett. "Over the years, fans have 
written to me telling me that I've got the 
timeline in the Disc world books wrong. They 

will sit there and work things out — 'You 
mentioned that such-and-such happened 20 
years before, but that couldn't be the case, 
because character X would be that much 
older and they appear to be the same age.' 
The established professional author knows 
exacdy how to deal with this sort of thing, 
which is to say, 'Bog off and tell your moth- 
er that she needs you.' I've found that there 
are indeed these curious gaps, pauses and 
elongations in the Discworld history. So I 
thought, 'Let's stand back and think about 
the reason for this.' Lo and behold, I stared 
into the abyss and the abyss stared back and 
said, 'There's a story here!' So that's what 
I'm plotting out now." 

With a universe as well established as 
Disc world, it's easy to call upon any number 
of popular characters that can be used as the 
basis for a novel. Nevertheless, Pratchett 
claims that both The Truth and the book after 
that will feature characters who have not 
appeared before. "I'm doing this deliberate- 
ly, because it's very easy to say, 'We'll take 
Commander Vimes, Granny Weatherwax and 
the witches — ' It's a bit like the old-fash- 
ioned Hollywood studios that had a bunch of 
stars under contract, and would produce a 
film as a vehicle for that star. I believe that's 
a slightly lazy way of doing it, so I'm going 
to build a few books around people that I will 
create for that book. It's quite refreshing, 
because I can rely on the readers not know- 
ing anything about these characters; they're 
entirely new." 

The success of the Discworld novels has 
resulted in an ever-growing amount of relat- 
ed merchandise, but Pratchett bristles at the 
suggestion of a potential overkill. "There are 
words like 'empire' that people use and I 
have to turn around and say, 'Do you mean 
equivalent to Star Wars or Star Trek"!' 
Although there is a Discworld movie, which 
seems to be constantly hovering on the brink 
of going into production, the reality is that 
except for one or two minor excursions. Dis- 
cworld is wholly a literary object, and lest 
people get the wrong idea, I mean literary in 
the sense of being defined by numbers of 

"There have been three computer games. 
There have been various illustrated things. 
There are the plays. You can buy models and 
there are badges and things like that, but you 
can live your life in a major city, run into the 
books in the bookshop and never run into any 
of the other stuff. Wherever possible, I go to 
see stuff, because if the end falls off your 
plastic lightsaber, that nice Mr. George Lucas 
is going to be entirely unmoved, whereas if 
your Discworld T-shirt dissolves in the wash, 
/ am the person who's going to get the angry 

One might think Disc world's worldwide 
popularity would make a big-screen adapta- 
tion inevitable, but don't start stocking up on 
jumbo-sized popcorn with melted butter just 
yet. "I keep very quiet about this, because 

It's a matter 
of relativity 
when Death's 
Susan takes 
stage in 
Soul Music. 

Author of 
Maskerstde xtd , 

56 STARLOG/M^zv 2000 

Design & Layout: Heiner F 

and the 
Cohen the 
live once 
more in 

there's nothing sadder than an author going 
through year after year of 'soon to be a major 
motion picture' hanging around his neck. 

"Morr the movie has been flapping about 
since about 1992, as these things do. There 
was some very encouraging news up to a few 
months ago, then it has gone quiet. In fact, it 
looked as if we were out of Development 
Hell and halfway across Development Heck 
as well, but this is how things happen in 
movies — things do ?iot happen fast." 

Man at Arms 

On a happier note, matters are looking 
much rosier for a movie version of Good 
Omens, the 1990 apocalyptic satire co-writ- 
ten with Neil Gaiman. An announcement was 
recently made for the feature to be directed 
by Terry Gilliam, but Pratchett remains wary 
for the time being. "I'm pleased to say — and 
I think Neil will say the same thing — that we 
treasure our ignorance," he notes. "We went 
through a fairly hellish procedure back in the 
early '90s. We got a few trips to LA out of it, 
and did work on a script, but I don't think 
they had a clue. It didn't do wonders for our 
friendship, either. We walked away thinking, 
'We're never going to get involved in any- 
thing like this again!' so we made this pact 
that we are never going to work on a Good 
Omens movie. 

"We're both very pleased that Gilliam is 
involved, because we had a meeting with him 
back in the early '90s, when he was saying, 
'Hey, you don't have to write a script for this, 
I can just film the book!' But then, for one 
reason or another, he never got involved, or at 
least he never ended up as temporary owner 
of the film rights. I have a strange suspicion 
that Neil would say the same thing: 'Oh, 

t we're 

what the hell, it might not be the J^vle that 
we had in mind, but ii will be a teftv^Giliiam 
movie.' Even if it hasn't got what \\g 'wanted 
in it, it will have sometliing else'gooSi that we 
will be pleased to see. 

"I suppose the other reason 
cautious is that movies notorioi 
happen no matter who's involved 
no matter how certain they appi^ 
it works, we hope it goes ahead, bui 
personally, I won't believe it until 1% 
ing up the steps to the premiere, 
then, only maybe." 

In the end, according to PratcW 
written word that counts; the stag^pfo'^s and 
movies and assorted merchandisf kf4 just 
icing on the literary cupcake. 1 like 

doing is writing," he insists. "WhicB l.^id the 
Chekov scene in The Fifth Elephant, mat sort 
of happens underneath your fingei .^ cuid it's 
is a real kick. 

"Let me give you another exampic: in the 
next book, I pick up a theme that Focgan to 
develop in The Fifth Elephant, whef^Z have a 
vampire temperance league. They ^alize 
that the only way they'll be accepjted Into 
society is by giving up the drinkirig j-^ human 
blood. I actually had one characi' 
who is a member of the Uberw; 
ance League, so I spent an after 
ing the Victorian temperance mo' 
working out the parallels. It w^ 
this character, because he's such a oad guy. 
What defines a vampire? They sat||.|Siman 
blood, so in a sense, because In definite 
social pressure, they're driving tlfeni^lves 
insane trying not to be what they u^^^ifestly 
are. It's like a dwarf trying not t- ^fe^ short. 
That screws them up, and unfominately, 
screwed-up minds are fun to writv. ii uut and 
often very amusing to read." , 

And as long us readers are .^lfiused by 
Pratchett's books, he'll contiifu^Oi ^^rite 
them. "By any of the standards .^^t X had 
when I was starting out as a writes^. I llave 
done phenomenally well," he reffect^.'n got 
interested in SF in the '60s when the.niimber 
of people making any kind of liv 
could be numbered on the fiiAqL^of , one 
hand that had been in a bad inlus^Mflcci- 
dent. When I even begim thiniTO afcout 
being a professional wrii er, I thoui^ 
as much from professional writili^^ 
out of my then-day job v ould be.gobd. I was 
making what seemed — and ^eems 

Screwed-up minds are fun to write about 
and often very amusing to read," 


s I was 

now — huge sums of money, an^'gl 
of readers. The books were getti^j 
bestseller lists, so I won't sa> I set^^^ 
low, I set them realistically by th( 
of SF and fantasy in general, ti^'* 
the chairman of the Society of Aulhoi 
[in Britain] for some years, and kuow 
little the average professional auihoi aciually 
makes out of fiction writing. 

"So by all these markers, ^ia..^ing 
incredibly well," Terry Pratchett ^s^'^a^^d 
it seems almost obscene to have any further 
ambitions. There is a kick outvOp^vyiiting, 
and that's what I would still like >o get in 
five year's time, that feeling J^^aflUll^*^ 
going well and that tneie's interyEftg^tuff 
happening." IsJIIm^I^ 


ime-tripping is hard work, and not just for the tripper. On the UPN SF-adventure series Seven Days, 
Frank Parker's time treks are made possible by a team of scientists putting in long hours on Project Back- 
step. One of the key figures on the project is Olga Vukavitch, the cool, professional Russian scientist whose 
alter-ego, EngUsh actress Justina Vail, also knows a thing or two about hard work. 
"I don't envy how hard 



Jonathan [LaPaglia, as 
series lead Parker] has to 
work on this show," says 
Vail. "I don't know how he 
does it. I don't think I 
would have survived in his 
shoes. In fact, last season 
and in the beginning of this season, I had 
much more to do, and I ended up collaps- 
ing with exhaustion on the set." 
That was right after filming "Two Weddings and 
a Funeral," the fourth episode of the second season and 
the second one to feamre Vail in the dual roles of Olga 
and the psychotic Galina Komanov. "I was working 
less than Jonathan, but Galina takes a lot out of me," 
Vail explains. "I told the producers she can't come 
back, because I can't do that to myself I have to go to 
absolutely the worst place within myself to play that 
character. The first episode with Galina, 'There's 
Something About Olga,' which we did last year, had a 
terrific script and a great director. The part was a won- 
derful challenge for me. But the second time it was 
like, 'We've akeady done it. Why do we need to do it 
again?' " 

Past Tense 

Following her collapse and brief hospital visit, the 
producers scaled back her role. It wasn't until the last 
handful of episodes in season two that Olga began to 
resurface as a major character. "I think they realized 
some people can work that hard, and some can't. 
Jonathan is just amazing. He works constantly, trying to 
make the scenes click, and that's hard work. On top of 
that, he has to know his lines and put a lot of physical 
effort into his role. He's extraordinary. 

"As for 
Olga," Vail con- 
tinues, "the 
smaller role was 
fine with 

Brilliant Olga 
(Justina Vail) 
takes the time 
to send Frank 
LaPaglia) on 
every Seven 

r I 









r i 

but it's great that 
they're bringing her 
back now. We are 
shooting an Olga 
episode currently, and 
I'm in next week's 
episode a bit more, 
too. I don't want to 
overwork and, obvi- 
ously, I don't want to 
underwork. We're 
finding the right bal- 

Vail was once an 
art student and came 
into acting quite acci- 
dentally. She consid- 
ers herself a "right-brainer," creative and spontaneous, the kinds of qualities Olga Vukavitch 
lacks. "She and I both care about people and we're both a bit klutzy," she chuckles. "But 
beyond that, Olga and I don't have much in common. Ironically, I have had sort of a wild, 
Parker-esque Ufe, more Parker-esque than Jonathan has. Olga, on the other hand, is a left- 
brainer, very focused on her life, and she's quite inhibited in many ways. But she teaches me 
things. We're doing an episode right now where Olga starts to get in touch with the idea of 
being a mother. That creates turmoil for her, because she is in bis denial about that side of 


58 STARLOG/M^^}' 2000 

The Olga-Parker "relationship is definitely going into a deeper 
place" in the future, admits Vail, but marriage? With an Elvis 
impersonator presiding? No way. 

herself. Doing the episode has helped bring me out of denial in my own 
life about such things." 

After lensing in Los Angeles its first year, Seven Days relocated to 
Vancouver, a move that has elicited mixed emotions in Vail. "The show 
looks different, for one thing," she says. "It doesn't have that CaUfomia 
light anymore. We're wrapped up much more against the cold weather. 
The move was hard at first for all of us. We were torn from our friends 
and families. But I'm beginning to grow fond of Vancouver. It's just a 
matter of making this another life. I haven't quite gotten there yet; I 
don't think any of us on the show have. When I'm not working, I go 
back to LA." 

The change in location is far from the only difference between sea- 
sons of Sevefi Days. "I feel our stories have been simpler this year," Vail 
attests. "The beginning of the first season was hard, because everyone 
was trying to get a feel for the show. By the season's end. we got things 
rolling and the stories got better. Then we had to move up to Vancouver, 
which was almost like doing a first season all over again. It was hard. 
Now we're starting to crank up again. The Paramount guys told me 
they're reahzing the Parker/Olga relationship is really important to the 
series, and that we need to focus on it more. For a while, we kind of 

While their on-screen chemistry 
is timeless. Vail admits that her 
off-screen interaction with 
LaPaglia is dicier: "Jonathan 
and I are very different people." 

dropped it, but it is one of the main 
things viewers are interested in. So 
they've refocused on that, which is 
a good thing for me because it gives 
me more to do; it gives someplace 
else for my character to go. There's 
this arc going on all the time for 
Olga; there's growth. She's learn- 
ing things and letting her guard 
down. We're all sort of changing, 
and that's reahstic, because we do 
that in life." 

Parker has been chasing Olga 
for almost two years now, but Vail 
isn't sure the two characters will 
ever get together romantically. "It's 
really hard to say, because it is a 
process," she opines. "And that's 
what people want to see — the 
process. But anything's possible. 
Their relationship is definitely 
going into a deeper place. The thing that keeps bringing it 
back almost to the starting point is that Parker keeps reverting 
to that bad-boy approach, treating her like a sex object. It's 
hilarious, but it's fiot going to make Olga say, 'Yes, let's go for 
it.' Instead she says, 'Fine, never mind.' From the beginning, 
there have been times when she appears ready to reach out to 
him. But then his nature gets in the way." 

Whether or not their relationship ever becomes more than 
strictly professional, Olga has been influenced and changed 
by the unpredictable time traveler. "She has fought that 
change quite a bit," notes Vail (who also discussed Seven Days 
in STARLOG #258). "She's much more adventurous, and she 
has been forced to change in many ways by this young man 
who is so volatile and out of control. He is an adventurer, and 
Olga has been swept up in that quite a bit. In fact, she has 
wanted to be swept up. It has been exciting and a Httle fright- 
ening for her. She's more able to express her sexuality and 
humor, thanks to Parker. She's getting in touch with her pas- 
sion, her drive and the child in her. " 

Vail's on-screen chemistry with LaPaglia sparkles, but 
behind the scenes, Vail says their different acting styles put a 
strain on their working relationship. " It's kind of like Moonlighting, to 
be honest. Jonathan and I are very different people, more so even than 
Parker and Olga. We have different ways of approaching Ufe and our 
work," she admits. "Working together can be very difficult because we 
are so different. 

"I work emotionally and he works intellectually," Vail explains. 
"Through the ages, actors have worked beautifully together in those two 
different ways. I think it can work for us. It has worked, to a certain 
degree. It's just that when we're trying to discuss scenes, we don't nec- 
essarily understand each other. But we get there, and that's what's 
important. It's just a matter of being OK with our differences. I'm real- 
ly fond of Jonathan and I think he's very talented. He is also exhausted 
and has a terrible workload. One thing we share is a similar sense of 
humor. He's constantly surprising me with his amazing physical humor. 
I learn a lot from Jonathan." 

Present Participants 

Seven Days has always had a liberal sprinkling of comedic touches, 
and much of it, according to Vail, springs from the actors themselves. 
"We create most of it on the stage," she reveals. "The writers are start- 
ing to put more comedy in, but most of the time it comes from Jonathan. 
He's really funny. Our whole cast is good with comedy, and we've tried 
to inject as much of that into our show as possible. This genre needs it, 
I think. So much of our series is fantastical, and the comedy helps to 

60 STARLOG/Mfl>' 2000 

A self-proclaimed 
"right brainer" 
impetuous Vail 
finds it 
interesting to 
play the rigid, 
logical Olga, and 
admits, "she 
teaches me 

make it feel more real." 

That cast of funnymen 
mcludes Alan Scarf e as Back- 
Ntep head Talmadge, Sam 
WTiipple as wheelchair-bound Dr. Ballard, Nick Searcy 
as the explosive Ramsey, Don Franklin as backup 
chrononaut Donovan and Norman Lloyd as sagacious 
Dr. Mentnor. "I feel so lucky to be working with these 
guys," Vail enthuses. "They are incredibly talented 
actors. Alan has done this for a long time, and he's 
soHd. I admire Sam; he's one of my best friends. We are 
both sensitive, emotional people. He's such a good 
actor. He's one of those rare actors who can tap into 
their vulnerabilities as well as their strengths. That 
makes a star." 

Asked to select a few episodes of Seven Days that 
stand above the rest, Vail places "There's Something 
About Olga" high on her list. Other favorites are "As 
Time Goes By," in which Olga's long-presumed-dead 
husband returns, and "Walkaway," in which an alien 
implant cures Ballard's paralysis. " 'EBE's,' with the 
mutated children, was another great show," she says. 
"That was interesting because it brought Alan and 
Norman's characters more into the forefront. You 
could see more of the relationships going on between 
the characters. I like that. I think we should all have 
more interaction." 

Every TV series inevitably produces a few clunkers, 
and Vail admits Seven Days has had its share. "I try to 
block out the negative and focus on the positive," she 
laughs. 'The one this season about the Uttle boy on an 
airplane who gets caught up in the Sphere was really 
choppy for some reason. That happens to some of our 
shows. And the alien episode, 'Lifeboat' — well, I'm an 
SF fan, and I prefer that when they come up with aliens, 
that they don't have these rubber dolls moving around. 
I would prefer it to be a little more abstract. Unfortu- 
nately, in our show you could tell the alien was a doll. 
It's better to keep it in the shadows or, conversely, put 
light on it that's so bright, you can't really look at it. 
You have to keep it obscure." 

The SF genre traditionally posits more questions 
than answers about humanity and our place in the cos- 
mos. Those questions are precisely what appeals to Vail 
about Seven Days and SF in general. "The idea of time 
travel is fascinating," she says. "In fact, it's too compli- 
cated for the human mind to really grasp, because it 
suggests so many questions. When we talk about cer- 
tain scenes on Seven Days, it's like, 'OK. so where did 
the Sphere go?' There are always questions about it, 
things that don't make sense. How do our minds take 
on those dimensions? We're having a hard enough time 
with three dimensions! But I'm very open to the idea 
that anything is possible. What we consider reahty is 
just something we create to feel safe. I don't think real- 
ity, as we know it, is all there is. I think there's more." 

She points to Contact, the 1997 film based on Carl 
Sagan's novel, as one of her favorite movies of any 
genre. "That film really explains why I love SF. To me, 
there's so much more to the universe than we know. 
How can we think that we not only rule the planet, but 
that we rule the universe? We don't rule anything." 

Future Imperfect 

Vail returns to the present to ponder where Seven 
Days — and Vukavitch — might be headed. The chances 
for a third season look good, but she points out that no 
decision has been made yet — and that the actors are 
always the last to know. She and her fellow actors are 
committed to another four years, should Seven Days 
prove so successful. 

"I have mixed feelings about [the series continuing 





f a ^ 




lue life. 


another year]," she says candid- 
ly. "Recently, I've felt more pos- 
itive about it because I've seen 
the scripts get better. I'm also 
learning to handle the job differ- 
ently. This is a very challenging 
series. I'm coming to terms with 
some things within the show's 
politics. I'm also grateful for 
having a job in this industry, and 
for playing a woman who is not a 
bimbo or a superwoman. There 
really aren't that many workable 
roles out there for women. I'm 
enjoying Olga, but I must admit I 
would be a little nervous about it 
going further than three years, 
because at some point you feel 
that you need to move on. It has 
been hard, yet it has also been an 
amazing experience." 

If Seven Days is renewed, 
Vail hopes viewers will get to 
see more of the relationships 
between everyone in the cast, 
including conflict. "I don't just 

mean Ramsey being 

mean to everybody," she 
chuckles. "What was 
interesting about Sam's 
episode, 'Walkaway,' was 
that there was conflict 
going on." 

In particular, Vail says 
she would love to see an 
alternate universe story — 
such a script is on the 
drawing board and may 
get produced in the poten- 
tial third season. "If we do 
that, I want to be like a 
Catwoman villain. Maybe 
I just need to branch out. 
A movie in the summer 
hiatus might get it out of 
my system! But seriously, 
Olga's a bit of a goody two-shoes and I want to be bad 
sometimes. Imagine the possibilities for the other char- 
acters," she says with a mischievous chuckle. "Like, 
Ramsey is a really nice guy who brings cookies in for 
everyone every day." 

Whatever happens with Seven Days, Vail will 
always have a fondness and appreciation for Vukavitch. 
"I see a lot of female roles that don't go anywhere, and 
what's great about Olga is that she is going somewhere. 
Female viewers write to me and talk about how they 
admire Olga's strengths and self-respect. Many roles 
for women are either the whimpering female who's 
utterly helpless and doesn't know what to do, or the 
superwoman who kick-boxes and juggles babies and is 
a scientist at the same time. Neither is really fair to 
women. What I love about Olga is that she encompass- 
es much more of what being a woman really is, which 
is very compUcated. 

"We have to be careful not to reveal everything 
about Olga immediately," Justina Vail concludes. "It 
has to be a struggle. But we're definitely taking her on 
an interesting ride." ^ 

As Project Backstep's forward thinker, avid SF fan Vail 
attests that "the idea of time travel is fascinating." 


is just 
we creatr 

to feel 


As Cordelia, Charisma 
Carpenter casts light 
into Angel's shadows. 

ust as Sarah Michelle Cellar, Nicholas Bren- 
don. Alyson Hannigan and her other pals over 
on Biiff\^ the Vampire Slayer made the transition 
from high school to college, Charisma Carpen- 
ter graduated from supporting player to leading 
lady on the Bujfy spin-off, Angel. Heading into 
the venture. Carpenter swears she harbored no 
fears that her character, Cordelia Chase, would 
be stretched too thin. The terminally narcissis- 
tic young woman with a wickedly acid tongue 
worked perfectly in small doses as comic relief 
on Bujfy. However, would having the spotlight 
trained on her week in and week out as Angel's 
assistant at the detective agency he has opened 
in Los Angeles as a means of saving lost souls 
still click? 

"I wasn't concerned about any limitation," Car- 
penter insists. 'And the first reason I say that is because of the writers 
involved. [Bujfy creator] Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt are very creative 
people with great, great minds. If they believed that it would work, then I 
believed it would work. I also wasn't worried about her going from a sup- 
porting character to a leading character, because their intention was to let the 
character grow more. The dynamic between a dark, brooding guy and a 
fluffy, superficial person presents conflict and comedy. In conflict, you get 
drama. In conflict, you can also get comedy. And that's exactly what has hap- 
pened. There is this great dynamic between Angel [David Boreanaz] and 
Cordelia. You've got Cordelia as this yapping Chihuahua chasing Angel 
around, nipping at his heels with various mundane matters. 'Oh my God, the 
rent!' or, 'We've just got to get a client!' The trick for me has just been to 
maintain that edginess she always had on Bujfy r 

Sanguine Heroine 

It's a trick that Carpenter pulls off with aplomb. Each week, she gets all 
the zippiest lines and she delivers each with razor-sharp precision. Even bet- 
ter. Carpenter is aided by scripts, storylines and isolated moments designed to 
humanize Cordelia, to reveal heretofore unseen depth. Anyone expecting 
Cordeha to actually land an acting gig or suddenly get lucky in love, howev- 
er, shouldn't hold their breath. "If she becomes a working actress, then she 
won't have a real tie-in with Angel." notes the actress. "If Cordelia doesn't 
have a tie-in with Angel, then Charisma won't have a job. It's a double-edged 
sword. I want success for her, but it would change things. Actually, Cordelia 
is such a bad actress that I don't see that happening any time soon. 

On Angel, Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) helps her titular 
bloodsucking boss (David Boreanaz) save lost souls — including, 
possibly, his own. 

Knolo: r-rariK ucKenieis 

Aiding the pair at the 
beginning of season one 
was Doyle (Glenn Quinn), 
a half-demon scoundrel 
who courted Cordelia, 
presaged doom and died 
a "Hero." 

suitor Wesley (Alexis 
Denisof) joined Angefs 
ranks. But relax, 
bachelors, Cordelia's not 
bound for romance yet. 

"I'm also not sure about her getting 
into a healthy relationship. I don't want 
to take away from the nucleus we've got. 
Would I like to see a relationship work? 
For a minute. For a minute, it would be 
nice to have a beautiful love scene, to have another one. A relationship 
would be interesting, but I would rather keep the stories about 
Cordelia's life outside the detective agency and Angel to a minimum." 

If the show's producers remain true to form, Carpenter will probably 
get her wish. Whedon and Greenwalt tend to Usten to Carpenter when 
she offers ideas about character developments. 
"There's a little bit of that now," she acknowl- 
edges. "If I say, 'I would really like to give birth 
to a demon baby' or 'I want to be in an audition 
and audition really badly,' they'll hear me out and 
maybe do it. They made the horrible audition 
experience happen [in "Parting Gifts"], but the 
reason it was horrible was because Cordelia had a 
vision she had no idea she was going to get. The 
scene where I did the commercial was my 
favorite scene, comedically speaking, that I've 
ever done. It was so much fun. So they've allowed 
some of my suggestions to come to fruition. I did 
not give birth to a demon baby [in "Expecting"], 
but I did get pregnant by a demon. 

are kind or 
with me." 

"So I'll make suggestions. I'll say, T want to wear a wig.' And 
since I work for a detective agency, I can go incognito and wear a 
wig. So this series has been a dream. All in one episode — 'Expect- 
ing,' for example — I got to be vulnerable, scared, resilient, funny 
and, ultimately, heroic because I got to smash the demon. What 
more could you ask for? In eight days, in one episode, I got to do the 
whole range. That's why Atigel has been such a joy and it's why, in 
a way, I'm glad I left Biiffy. I could grow on Angeir 

Speaking of Bujfy, what does Car- 
penter miss most about the show? "The 
crew," she responds. And what have 
been the biggest differences between 
Buffy and AngeP. "The hours are way 
longer," she says, referring to Angel. 
"Also, as I said, I have much more of an 
opportunity to run the gamut, actor- 
wise. That's simply because my character is much more pivotal on 

As for memories of Bujfy, there's one particular story that 
springs to Carpenter's mind. "During the show's first season, we 
were doing the episode 'Puppet Show,' " she remembers. "I was 
walking up to the production office and Joss stopped me. He said, 
'Hey, by the way, can you sing?' I said, 'No, but I can dance.' And he 
said, 'Good.' I didn't know if 'Good' meant, 'Good, you can dance' 
or 'Good, you can't sing.' Well, I found out. 

"They made me sing, which was just so horrifying for me 
to overcome. I'm afraid to sing out loud in front of anybody. It 
was one of those times as an actor that I really had to push 
myself to do something, because it was so uncomfortable. The 
crew was laughing at me, and then I would laugh. And we 
couldn't get through it. It was funny, but I was completely 
mortified and humiliated at the same time. So, the producers 
are kind of sadistic with me. Fortunately, I got to be funny 
with it. It was OK that I didn't have to be good." 

Asked to describe what she feels are Cordelia's least and 
most endearing characteristics. Carpenter pauses. "Her least 
endearing characteristic?" she asks, repeating the question as 
she gropes for an answer. "I don't know. I kind of like 
Cordelia. Least endearing? They've changed her so much that 
now she's full of colors. She's complicated. She's layered. She 
has it all. She can be heroic, she can be insensitive — I guess 
insensitive is a bad thing to be, but we're all like that at times. 
So I think she's a perfect example of what's in all of us, though 
she's a little more extreme. Her most endearing quality? Her 
humor. Her manipulating abilities are pretty good. I love it 
when she uses them, especially when it's for the right rea- 

On AngeU to date. Carpenter earned the most accolades for her ter- 
rific performance in "Expecting." The episode, which aired in February, 
ranked as the highest-rated hour of Angel since the pilot. "That was pret- 
ty nice," the actress notes. "It boosted my confidence a lot. It really, real- 
ly made me feel good that I had put so much of my heart into it and it 
was well-received by the fans, which is ultimately what we want, and 
also, at the same time, the crew saw it and was impressed. If your crew 
says, 'Hey, great job,' you know you're doing something right. They're 
on the set all the time. They see everything. If they say, 'Good job,' then 
I know I've done a good job, because they're a tough audience to get 
approval from. Also, the producers and executives at 20th 
Century Fox gave me calls. So that was really the most 
pleasing feeling. It was amazing." 

Bloody Toils 

If there are any criticisms to be made of the show — 
aside from the occasional clinker, a la "I Fall to Pieces," 
and the annoying way in which Angel, every other 
episode or so, seems to somehow be able to withstand 
exposure to direct sunlight — they are these: too many 
demons and too somber a tone. Carpenter addresses both 
issues head-on. "I do honestly feel that it's more interest- 
ing for me as an actor to watch the group go through 
something rather than save another entity," she says, 
beginning to touch on the demon dilemma. "I say that 

64 STARLOG/May 2000 

because I feel that the audience is most 
attached to the three of us [first .Ajigel. CordeUa 
and Doyle, played by Glenn Quinn. and now 
Angel, Cordelia and Wesley, the Bujf\' ex- 
watcher portrayed by Alexis Denisof] and can 
feel more if something happened, good or bad, 
to us rather than a demon. The writers have to 
build that demon up and make it either really 
bad or really appealing in order for us to care 
about whether or not it lives, for us to care 
about its struggle for survival, like in 'Hero.' 

"I think the audience is more affected by it 
when something is happening to us. In 
'Expecting,' I was going through an ordeal. As 
a woman, I was suffering and I was pregnant 
and under a spell. An audience is more affected 
by that than by a demon's problems. If we're in 
peril or surviving or getting over something, I 
think that's more intense and more appealing. 
That's just my personal take. And I stole 
that idea from my makeup artist. He said, 
'It was so nice to get back to our cast, to 
our people for a change, because we've 
been concentrating on all these demons 
for so long." 

And what of the argument that Angel 
is too somber? "I think that's why Wesley is 
with us now," Carpenter comments. "They 
went the exact opposite of Doyle. Doyle and 
Angel were a lot alike. They were both dark 
people with mysterious pasts. They were both 
half-demon. They were ver>' similar. I was the 
little ray of sunshine in this brooding, dark 
world, but now I think Wesley is pan of that 
[sunshine]. I don't know if that was on pur- 
pose or not, but for the fans, if the lighter tone 
is what they wanted, then they got it in Wes- 
ley and myself." 

Speaking of Doyle, Quinn departed Angel 
under rather murky circumstances. The char- 
acter, who had been forging a romantic bond 
with Cordelia, perished in "Hero." The parn^ 
line states that Doyle was never intended to be 
a permanent fixture on the show, but was to be 
killed off midway from the stan. Scuttlebun, 
however, suggests that Quinn was let go after 
the producers determined that the character 
had outlived his usefulness, that he simply 
wasn't working out. "I really don't know 
which is which and I don't ask." Carpenter 
says. "All I know is that I am sad. I was ver\- 
sad to see Glenn go. Personally, there was a 
kinship. There is a friendship that forms when 
you work that many hours. He was ver>' 
charismatic and jolly and just an all-around 
fun person to be with. 

"As far as the characters go. Cordelia and 
Doyle had such a great, great relationship. 
There was a lot of chemistry. My Mom said. 
T was really sad to see him go because I real- 
ly felt for him wanting to get to you. I felt he 
was going to reach you and then he pulled 
back. And it was so compelling.' So I think 
the show suffers a bit for taking that away. 
But Joss and David are very smart. They're 
very good writers, so I'm sure they'll make up 
for it in some other area. I don't think that our 
show is going to die, that we'll lose our 
momentum or anything. But I have a little bit 
of a thorn in my heart over it." 

Carpenter is likely correct in her assump- 
tion that Wesley was brought on board to fill 

the void left by Doyle's demise, 
but as a lighter presence. 
Though the British demon 
hunter still appears to have a 
hankering for Cordelia (one first 
introduced on Bufy^), Carpenter 
doesn't expect sparks to fly any 
time soon. "We bicker a lot," she 
notes. "I think we really do like 
each other. It's such a complex 
dynamic. First of all, his coming 
into the scene threatens 
Cordelia, because she wants 
Angel's attention. She wants to 
be Angel's right-hand man, and 
here he comes in and tries to get 
a job. He's pushing his way in 
and he's 5(9 organized. He's such 
a threat. He's always one-upping 

Although she misses her old gang 
of slayers from Buffy, Carpenter is 
certainly happier to be getting more 
airtime, but she admits, "the hours 
are way longer." 

me, or trying to. So, I'm always 
calling him on it. There's a little 
competition there. Also, at the 
same time, if I'm ever in need, 
who's there for me but Wesley? 
If his life was in danger, I would 
be there. We would die for cadlk 
other. So, that's good. It's like, 'Bick- 
er, bicker, oh my God, I love you. 
This is my family. Don't screw with 
my family.' 

"Alexis is so talented and he's so 
much fun to watch. I get so much out 
of him. I defer to him a lot. I'll say, 
'How does that sound? Do you like 
this better or that better?' I really 
value his ability as an actor. He's also 
a lot of fun. It's crazy, two guys and a 
girl. Boy, let me tell you." 

By the time this interview appears 
in print, the Angel cast and crew will 
be on their hiatus. Both Angel and 
Bujfy have been renewed for 22- 
episode 2000-2001 seasons by the 
WB. So, they'll both be back before 
the cameras in mid-summer. Carpen- 
ter hopes to spend part of the off-sea- 
son acting in a film, but since Angel 
kicked off, she has only auditioned 
twice for other projects. "Our sched- 
ule is really hectic," she explains. 
"There have been some offers coming 
through, but a), if it was something I 
was interested in, they didn't have a 
script ready, so I couldn't do it this 
hiatus; or b), I just couldn't make it to 
the audition; or c), the roles available 
were just too Cordelia-esque, too 
close to what I'm doing now. So, I'm 
just waiting for the right role." 

And when it's time to return to the 
Angel set. she'll jump back into 
Cordelia, the rightest role of 
all. "Oh yeah," Charisma Car- 
penter enthuses. "It's just get- 
ting good." 

Carpenter appreciates that her ideas get play on Angel, like 
when she wanted to "give birth to a demon baby." But she 
wasn't "Expecting" such bloody cravings... 

STARLOG/Mflv 2000 65 

DEATHBLOW: Jim Lee's latest hero will kill 
& you...& you...& you, too...& even you... 




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Babylon Ss 
and learned 
SF isn't 


reveafs ai 

Chiistian has a problem. •Tm a workaholic, and that's a big 
problem for me." says the actress who gave feminine 
strength — not to mention bisexuality — a new name when she 
portrayed Susan Ivanova on Babylon 5. "Did I get enough 
work last year? No. Last year was difficult for me. Trust me, 
you don't want to be around me when the telephone isn't ring- 

" Christian is being her typical brash, shoot-from-the-hip 
self during a mid-morning conversation at the soundstage 
where Galaxy Online, a new science fiction/science fact mul- 
timedia enterprise, is going through start-up growing pains. 
Christian has stopped off to film a few promos and endorse 
the fledgling website (ww^ on her way to 
her current" regular work on NBC's critically acclaimed 
Freaks and Geeks. But, she admits, like any working actor, 
she's also angling for more. 

"I would love to direct a short. I've got a lot of ideas and, 
like every other actor in town, I've written a lot of scripts. From a profession- 
al point-of-view, this [Galaxy Online] is wide open, and I figure if I do some- 
thing nice for them, then perhaps I'll be in the position to approach them with 
some project." 


The actress acknowledges that she has been strongly associated with SF, 
but laughs at the notion tha^t it was by either luck or design. "I'm amazed and 
amused at the way things have happened. I mean, the only things I've really 
done that are in the genre are Babylon 5, The Hidden, Arena and. maybe, 
Maniac Cop 2. Those few things that have caught on with SF fans are only 
about l/lOOth of the things I've done. The rest of the stuff is strictly drama 
and comedy. And Babylon 5 was obviously so well- written that it wasn't just 
science fiction in my mind. I wasn't always spewing technobabble. I had real 
scenes and was able to express real emotions." 

Christian looks back on her days as 55's Ivanova with pride. "She was a 
strong, mysterious and complex character. From an acting point-of-view, I 
always knew I would have something interesting to do with her. Unfortu- 
nately, things didn't work out or I probably would have been there to the end. 
► But playing that character definitely put me on the map." 

The actress offers that science fiction has given her the opportunity to 
expand her horizons. "The stuff I've done in SF and fantasy hasn't always 
been great stuff, and they haven't always been great roles. It has always been 
under^interesting working conditions, however, and I've met some interesting 
people. Babylon 5 was the best of all the science fiction stuff I've done," she 
says, "and when I'm offered other genre things. I always mentally compare it 
to Babylon 5." 

The actress also admits that her high profile on Babylon 5 put her in a 
position to cash in on her post-55 life, but she didn't do so. "I have not specif- 
ically avoided the genre. Well, I guess I have kind of avoided it," she remarks. 

STARL0G/Md7v 2000 67 

"When I left Babylon 5, 1 was offered some pretty cheesy science fiction movies. I 
didn't want to do them. I didn't want to use whatever name integrity I had playing 
Susan Ivanova and sell out. Quite frankly, I didn't want to do anything that was not 
as well written as Babylon 5. It's very hard to find science fiction that's written that 

During her run on Babylon 5, Christian suddenly found herself elevated to the 
level of sex symbol. Having grown up as a self-described "ugly kid who was five-nine 
and weighed about 70 pounds," the actress was shocked to discover that the very oth- 
erworldly Ivanova struck a sexual chord with both genders. 

"When I started to realize that Ivanova appealed to both men a?id women in a sex- 
ual way, I was very surprised," she says. "I became the lesbian poster child of 
sorts because of Ivanova' s bisexuality. I had a lot of women sending me 
love notes and gifts. It was very interesting. I sort of got a kick out of 
it. I would go to conventions and be shocked that people were 
getting real ner\'ous and funny around me. It was hysterical. 
But I think much of that has gone away." 

Especially since Christian has cut down on her 
convention appearances. She has only two appear- 
ances booked this year, and with good reason. "I 
was doing a lot of convention work for a while, 
and it got pretty exhausting. It's always the same 
questions every time. Don't get me wrong. I 
enjoy the fans and it has been a great way to pro- 
mote the things I'm involved in. I'm a little bit 
of a mercenary that way. But it takes a lot of 
energy and effort to do the conventions, and 
you don't always get back what you put out." 

OK. She has reduced convention appear- 
ances. She has not done bad SF flicks just for 
the bucks. So how has Christian made the 
rent when the phone was not ringing night 
and day with offers? "I cashed in in other 
weird ways," she explains. "I've directed the- 
ater. I write children's books. I'm working on 
my fourth CD, and they've done pretty well 
for me, considering I'm not a singer. But I can 
act as if I know how to sing. I get the occa- 
sional voiceover gig. For the average person 
that would sound like a great year. But for 
me, those are things I do to avoid the fact that 
I'm not acting." 


But when money got tight last year. 
Christian took the potentially risky step of 
I agreeing to pose for Playboy. "It was some- 
I thing I had to think twice about. I have two 
younger sisters. My parents and my boy 
friend said go and do it, so I said, 'What the 
hell!' It turned out to be fine. It was hidden 
in an issue way in the back and my name 
wasn't even on the cover. As far as I know, 
nobody saw it. So, in order to make ends 
meet, I did Playboy. I don't care. I'm not 
embarrassed about it. I would rather do 
Playboy than go out and do some piece of 
crap violent movie where a woman is 
raped and cut up into httle pieces. It was 
a pretty pictorial and it supported me for 
a year." 

It also permitted her to do a pair of 
micro-budgeted independent movies, 
Last Rites and Love and Sex, that 
allowed her to stretch as an actress. 
"Nobody would ever give me the kinds 
of roles that I got in those two films. I'm 
a character actress. Until I get older, 
casting people will continue to see me in 

Perhaps when she^ 
was "Sleeping in ^ 
the Light" this B5\ 
episode was 
reshuffled, J 
resulting in 
Ivanova — years 
older— appearing j 
after Christian 
had left the ^ 

a certain way. I love playing the 
bad guys and I love the character 
roles. I also like not having to 
depend on my looks. I've never 
been an aesthetically perfect per- 
son. I would rather depend on my 
acting ability than whether my 
hair looks good." 

Christian's future looks fan- 
tastic. She is currently helping 
pitch a TV series based on the 
role-playing game Immortal for 
which she did voiceover work. 
She landed a role in Disney's 
>ummer 2001 animated adventure 
Atlantis, voicing the tough yet 
enigmatic Helga. She's also hop- 
ing that something might pop for 
her on Galaxy Online. "It's like I said before, I'm open to any science fic- 
tion or fantasy that's good. And I'm an optimist. I'm sure it's out there 

But she's akeady making plans for that inevitable bump in the road. 
"Summers are usually pretty quiet, and I've decided that if I'm not working 
this summer, I'm going back to school at the Royal Academy in London. So 
if nothing else, I'll be acting all day, even if I'm not getting paid for it." 

Ultimately, Christian remains an optimistist. "I have no complaints. I 
feel like I'm the luckiest girl in the world. I'm doing what I love and I man- 
age to eke out a living at it. I've got great friends and I'm healthy." 

Claudia Christian glances at her watch as she completes her thought, 
rises and quickly excuses herself. "And," she laughs as she exits, "I've got a 
place to go to and work to do." 

Ivanova was "a strong, mysterious and complex character," 
notes Christian, who's still a bit mystified by her untimely exit 
from this starring quartet (see sidebar). 

than go. out apd do 
spmenpiece .or crap 
violent movie." 

yr\ ne of the most surprising events in 
^ Babylon 5 history acmally took place 
behind the scenes, with Claudia Christian's 
sudden departure from the series following 
season four's end. The entire story behind her 
exit may never be fully known, even though a 
lengthy war of words between the actress and 
series creator J. Michael Straczynski did take 
place over the Internet in summer 1997. Nev- 
ertheless, the actress offers some insights. 

According to Christian, the dispute began 
as plans were being made for TNT to take 
over production of the series for its fifth and 
final season. Members of the cast were asked 
to sign one-month contract extensions to 
allow fime for the change-over from syndica- 
tion to cable, and while Chrisfian gave a ver- 
bal commitment that she was on board for 
season five, she was reluctant to sign the 
extension. At issue was her own request that 
she be given a four-episode hiams in order to 
shoot a film. Although Straczynski assured 
her that he would be willing to temporarily 
write her out, Chrisfian asked for a written 
guarantee, and that's when the situation 
reached a stalemate. 

In mid- July, the cast traveled to Black- 
pool, England to attend the Wolf 359 conven- 
tion, which is when Christian was allegedly 
told she was no longer a part of Babylon 5. 
"I'll tell you one thing, and there are records 
of this: Nobody ever called my manager or 

my agent, and I've had the same agent for 
four years. I've been with Babylon 5 since the 
beginning, so it's not like they didn't have a 
phone number. 

"On Friday, while we were in Blackpool, 
unbeknownst to me, my agent received a fax 
from Warner Bros, saying, The offer for the 
fifth season for Claudia Christian has been 
withdrawn.' At that point, I didn't know about 
this fax. My agents didn't get hold of me that 
weekend because of the time difference and 
everything. Once they received it, they fig- 
ured, 'Well, she's fired. We don't know why, 
but we'll talk to her when she gets back or 
we'll try to get hold of her in Scotland, but 
they've withdrawn the offer; let's proceed 
with other work.' 

"On Saturday, Joe came to me and said, 
'You have until Monday [to sign the exten- 
sion].' I called my agents and left word that it 
was very important they get back to me. Of 
course, I wasn't going to call Warner Bros., 
I'm an actor; what am I going to do: 'Hello, 
Warner Bros.? Can you put me through — ' 
That's an agent's job, and they shouldn't have 
been harassing me; they should have been 
calling my manager and saying, 'Listen, if 
you don't hustle, she's gone!' 

"When I got back on Monday, I found out 
my manager called to set up a meeting and 
was told it was too late, and then my agent 
called me and said, 'Claudia, we had already 

received a fax by Friday!' I don't know 
whose instigation it was, but it's pretty 
bizarre that after four years of being in eveiy 
single episode, it's so easy to say, 'OK, good- 

"I know Joe claims that he begged me and 
begged me, but why is he talking to me? I 
said, 'Joe, please call my agents.' I didn't 
reaUze the reason why they weren't trying so 
hard to get me back was because I was 
already fired. Joe had alluded that it was 
some deceptive thing, and that I didn't work 
out a deal beforehand. I had said to him, 'I 
need this time off, and I can't just take your 
word for it. It's not that I don't trust you, but I 
need something in writing.' But he said, 'We 
can't do that.' [Producer] John Copeland said, 
'I don't care what Joe says; if you're wanted 
for all 22 episodes, you're wanted for all 22 
episodes, period. If TNT wants you in every 
show, you have to do every show!' There 
wasn't any, 'Let's work this out, the fans are 
going to be upset,' nothing. 

"As far as I'm concerned, it really disap- 
points me that I'm so replaceable in their 
minds. I think the fans have proved other- 
wise, because they inundated [the production 
office] with e-mail, faxes and letters. I'm just 
sorry that the fans went through the trouble 
of launching this campaign, and it was to no 
avail because Joe simply said no." 

— Joe Nazzaro 

STARL0G/Mi7y 2000 69 




onlij ujifh 

John Woo." 

rom Jonny Quest to The West 
Wing, Tim Matheson has had a 
perpetually intriguing career. Now, the one-time child star- 
tumed-director has helmed Hell Swaim, a UPN TV movie air- 
ing in the Blockbuster Video 's Shockwave Cinema Friday night 
time slot. Matheson is excited about the action-packed alien 
invasion story — though he isn't crazy 
about the title. 

"It started out being called Ultra- 
Kill then it was MK Ultra^ says Matheson. "Finally, Paramount 
and UPN, in their wisdom, have now given it one of the cheesi- 

est titles I've ever heard. It's called Hell Swann — they must think 
it's about bees. The title has very little to do with the movie, but 
they think it's a better title. It only hurts when I laugh." 


Though Matheson both acted in and directed Hell Swa?t7i, he 
originally became involved only in the latter capacity. "They 
don't hire actors before directors. I didn't do much in it [as an 
actor]. They wanted me to direct it and said, 'And if you want to 
do something in it, see what you think.' I was on the fence for a 
while about acting in it as well but I've acted in three of the five 



Tim Matheson directs Hell Swarm, a TV 
movie about body-snatching-gone-bad. He 
also co-stars as Bluhdorn, head of the group 
dedicated to stopping the alien threat. 

movies I've directed, and it's do-able. It requires 
you to split your focus a little bit, and you real- 
ly need a strong producer on it when you're 
doing both, somebody who knows acting." 

Matheson was attracted to the idea of 
directing Hell Swarni because of the prospects 
of playing within the science fiction universe. 
''The great thing about genre films is that you 
have styhstic license in action sequences, and 
in suspense and science fiction. Whereas when 
you're dealing with straight dramas or come- 

dies, often you don't want to mess with the 
drama or the comedy by getting too frenetic 
with the camera. So it's an opportunity for me 
to dive into the deep end and paint on a broad- 
er canvas." 

He's happy with the way Hell Swarm 
turned out, noting that SF action has certain 
principles to follow. "You know its parameters; 
you can look at a lot of great examples: John 
Woo, Sam Raimi, Robert Rodriguez, the 
Wachowskis, at different science fiction- action 

movies. My favorites, which inspired me the 
most, were Blade and The Matrix. I hired 
Don Davis, who did the music for The Matrix 
and Bound, and I called in a bunch of favors 
to get a great director of photography and a 
great stunt coordinator who had never done a 
TV movie. It's on a par or better than most 
films that they usually get [for the UPN 
movie slot]." 

Hell Swarm follows government agents 
assigned to track down an alien Hfe form that 
has begun possessing humans. "A govern- 
ment agency has discovered that there was a 
life form that existed and died off thousands 
of years ago, but a remnant of it has remained 
hidden away, and it has come back," Mathe- 
son explains. "It's taking over human beings, 
and using them as hosts. It's like Body 
Sfiatchers, only with John Woo. This life 
form is taking over humans to strengthen its 
foothold on Earth, and then it plans to wipe 
out humanity and take over. This government 
agency has discovered the aliens' plot and is 
keeping it secret to avoid panic, and is also 
putting together a team to fight it." 

In keeping with Hell SwaiTii's sense of 
secrecy, the actual alien form remains a mys- 
tery. "We don't know what they really look 
like," he says. "Since they take over our form, 
they look like us, but they're different on the 
inside. If you cut an arm off, it will grow back. 
It's hard to kill them. They're stronger than 
us — they're a superhuman type of life form, 
almost a superior consciousness. It's never 
specified what they really are." 

Hell Swarm was also an opportunity for 
Matheson to work with a number of new FX — 
another first for the director. "That's the great 
thing about this," he says. "You get to play in a 
CGI world, with FX makeup — it's a great 
proving ground for directors. I had done a little 

STARL0G/M^7v 2000 71 

of lhar with In the Company of Spies, the 
Showtime movie I directed last year. That's 
the future. Even in supposedly straight 
movies like Magnolia. CGI is playing a 
bigger part, offering us a larger palette — 
for a price — to affect our movies and our 

"It's important for directors to become 
comfortable with what can and can't be 
done, with both reality-based and CGI- 
based filmmaking. In-camera FX are better 
than CGI FX, unless they're cost-prohibi- 

Matheson's no stranger to mixing 
acting and directing. ''It requires you 
to split your focus/' he cautions, but 
adds, "it's do-abler 

An accomplished live-action 
performer, Matheson found early 
success voicing the titular hero 
of Jonny Quest Hey, Bandit, 
stop hogging tlie frame! 

tive. People go, 'You've got to go comput- 
er,* but you don't. Often there's a simple 
way to do it. You ask, *How would they 
have done it 30 years ago? And if that's too 
much trouble, too hard or too clunky, then 
what does it cost to do CGI? And will it be 
as good, how will it affect the shot you 

"I remember getting bids on certain 
shots. There was one shot in particular, 
where an alien is blown in half, then he 
crawls away from his legs, leaving them 
behind. It shows that you can hardly hurt 
them. That was going to have to be done 
CGI, and it^was a $3,500-$4,500 
shot. I said, 'No way! We'll get 
an amputee and a pair of prop 
legs, and he'll crawl away from 
the legs. It'll cost $150 for the 
actor and S25 for the legs.' And 
we did it that way ! You just can't 
get carried away in one direction 
or the other: you have to keep 
your mind open at all times. And 
then there are shots you've just 
got to do CGI — it would be too 
cumbersome or too much trou- 
ble to try it in-camera and on-set. 
Each has their benefits and 

Ironically, the most compli- 
cated FX shot in Hell Snatui is 

In SF films, notes Matheson, you "have 
stylistic license in action squences/' No 
doubt why, in Hell Swarm, this guy's 
getting the stuffing shot outta him. 

one which, for all its impressiveness, looks 
quite normal — at least Matheson expects it 
will. "Hopefully, nobody '11 even notice," he 
says. 'An alien jumps off a second-story bal- 
cony, and we tilt down with him and he lands 
on his feet. It doesn't faze him that he has 
just jumped 20 feet. He looks around and 
runs away. And that's all in one shot. It was 
a little trick}', and it was the first day. 

"Basically, you do it in two pieces. You 
lock off a shot of a stuntman jumping from 
the balcony out of the shot, and then you tilt 
down in the lower position, where you have 
the actor land, look around and run off. 
They morph them together and blend them 
with the computer, so it looks like ofie con- 
tinuous shot. It's a cool shot, but it would 
have been even better if it had been three or 
four stories!" 


Matheson has a small role in Hell 
Swarm, playing Bluhdom, the government 
guy charged with tracking down the aliens. 
"I run the agency that coordinates the efforts 
against the aliens. It goes under the pseudo- 
nym of Global Air Freight," he says. "It's a 
large organization, but the core of the group 
are these teams that go out after the aliens. 
Our story focuses on three of them: Boyd 
Kestner, Kathryn Morris and Jesse Borrego, 
the head alien bad guy." 

The ending seems to leave open the pos- 
sibility of an ongoing series. If that does 
happen. Matheson certainly would like to be 
involved — as much as his schedule permits. 
"It would be fun to find a way to do this on a 
weekly basis," he says. 'As a producer, it's 
interesting, because you would have to do it 
with different units. You would have an FX- 
action unit, a main unit, and you would have 
to find people who were able to produce 
story. It would be The X-Files or Body 
Snatchers every week. 

'That was the trick of this show, that these 
movies are done for a price, so one has to be 
very creative and careful about where you 
focus your action dollars, your stunt dollars 
and your CGI dollars. In a series, you would 
have more latitude, because you have a team 
doing it. But I enjoyed working on it and I 
thought it was a successful experiment." 

Matheson has begun directing more in 
recent years, and definitely finds it as saUs- 
fying in its own way, as acting. "It's like 
being the grownup," he jokes. "As an actor, 
you're a team player. You come in and try to 
fit into a project that has gained a head of 
steam already. You have a little bit to say 
about what you wear, what you say and how 
you say it. A bigger star can exert more con- 
trol, but essentially, that's pretty much it! 
You're a team player and you join in the 
director's vision. 

"As the director, you're the coach. You're 
the conductor of the orchestra, not just a 
player. And, the biggest difference is it's a 

72 STARLOG/^\/av 2000 

Positive role models and good times on Jonny Quest led Matheson to 
other voice roles on Young Samson, SinbadJunior an6 Space Ghost. 

whole different level of stress. Enormous stress, which is acute — it's, 'Now, do 
it now, and do it perfectly, and say the words and run around, and do it now, 
right in front of everybody; That's performance stress. The other kind of stress 
is that continuous 20-hours-a-day, every day, week-in, week-out, every shot, 
every scene, every word, in-control-of-everything stress, which is a lower level 
of stress in some areas, but it's a cumulative thing. But you get to play God. 
You're the king!" 

Although Matheson enjoys both acting and directing, he's especially happy 
to be able to alternate between the two jobs. "I love jumping back and forth," 
he says. "It's such a treat — I've learned so much from directing about acting, 
how to be a cooperative actor — but also, what am I required to do as an actor? 
We, as actors, tend to want to do too much. I know I did, because I always 
wanted to be more deeply involved. But as an actor, you can only be so deeply 
involved, because you have a limited perspective. That isn't bad, though; 
you're only concerned about your character. I think an actor does — or can do — 
a disservice to the character when he starts getting into the story too much. The 
more you understand the stor>^ the better it is, but you need to deal with your 
character's perspective. 

''As a director, you just try to balance everything. You're trying to feature 
your actors at their best, photograph them at their best, provide enough time to 
do everything and accomplish your own goal, and service the script, which is 
always the utmost you can do. You're there because of the script, you have to 
protect the writers, sometimes even at their own ignorance. You have to protect 
the script even from the writers at times. And you have to battle the studios and 
networks, and protect what it is you're trying to do, and also question, 'Why 
am I trying to do this — am I right or wrong?' It's a big juggling act." 

In years past, Matheson worked with two noted genre directors. "John Lan- 
dis [National Lampoon 's Animal House] is totally spontaneous, tremendously 
energetic, smart, facile, passionate. He totally believed in himself," 
Matheson says. "Those are all extremely valuable and necessary attrib- 
utes for a director. 

"Steven Spielberg [1941] trusts his heart and his gut. He's a master 
tactician, a brilliant businessman, he trusts actors and he's great with 
material. But I think he's courageous in the kind of films he makes, he's 
passionate about his commitment to certain films — and he understands 
the camera so well." 

As for Animal Houses John Landis, Matheson (right, with John 
Belushi) describes the director as "totally spontaneous, 

tremendously energetic.'' 

As an actor, Matheson has learned from all the directors he has 
worked for, but one rule stands out. "It's the script. No matter how much 
work you do, it's all down to what's on the page, both for the actor and 
director. I don't care how well you move the camera or how well you do 
this or that, if it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage, no matter how ham- 
boney or real the actors get. It has to have a great — or at least a decent — 
story and script to do it. Ever>'thing comes from the script. That's why 
doing genre work is important for me, because different genres need differ- 
ent things from the directors and actors. Comedies, generally speaking, 
don't require much camera finesse— just shoot it! It's really about charac- 
ter, and that's where the humor comes from. That's what I've learned." 


Matheson's many years of TV. film and voiceover work includes an 
extensive genre resume. There's the Night Gallei-y episode "Logoda's 
Heads" (which was expanded with extra footage and new Matheson narra- 
tion when the series was repackaged for rerun syndication). "I wanted to 
do a Rod Serling show," he explains. "I had done a day on a Twilight Zone 
when I was a kid, and it was not a terribly great script, but it was just fun to 
do one of those classic, great shows." 

As for the repackaged narration. "I could have done something — I 
don't remember if my character narrated it or not. I was under contract at 
Universal, and you would get a script that said they wanted you to start 
Thursday, and you said, 'Oh, OK.' Basically, during that period, I was 

Although Matheson praises Steven Spielberg's instincts, would he 
have t>een happier to star In any off the director's flicks — 

besides 7947? 

All 1941 Photos: Copyright 1979 Columbia Pictures 

SlAYa.OG/Max 2000 73 

studying acting in a classical repertory compa- 
ny, taking voice — it was like my intensive 
study class. I was under contract to Universal, 
which was another great era of my life, where I 
was almost literally doing every episodic show 
that they did there. I would get a script or call 
to audition every few weeks. I happened to 
know the director of that episode, Jeannot 
Szwarc, who directed Jaws 2 [and Somewhere 
in Time], and part of the reason I did it was for 
Jeannot. At that time, he was one of those 
young, hip directors, and I was hanging with 
him. I always loved hanging out with directors. 
We used to play chess a lot." 

More recently, Matheson starred in the 
1991 Stephen King TV movie Sometimes They 
Come Back. "I loved that show," he 
says. "It had a wonderful director, 
Tom McLoughUn, and it was a great 
story. I thought it was extremely 
successfully done, largely due to 
Tom and Dino DeLaurentiis — Dino 
spent a lot of money on that. I cared 
very deeply about that. It was a good 
script and a wonderful experience." 

He also starred in 1984's emo- 
tions-run-amok thriller Impulse. "I 
had a chance to work with Hume 
Crony n, Meg Tilly and Bill Paxton, 
who is still a friend," he says. "Gra- 
ham Baker was a good director, and 
it was almost a good movie — I don't 
know why it didn't work. A film like 
that would appeal to me as a director, 
and I'm not sure what it would take 
to make that story work better. 
You've got to go farther out, maybe, 
and get more crazy and scarier with 
it. It just didn't have those elements." 

Despite Matheson's genre suc- 
cesses, he's hard pressed to defend 
the 1992 hi-tech SF adventure Solar 
Crisis. The film, despite a cast that 
included Charlton Heston and Peter 
Boyle, definitely burned up. "It was 
a disaster," Matheson admits, noting 
that he never saw the completed 
film in America. "I saw something 
in Japan. They flew us to Japan for 
the premiere. It was a train wreck. 
Wrong director, wrong script..." 

Matheson also did a voiceover for Disney 
World's Body Wars — a fascinating take on a 
biology class and a thoroughly sensory experi- 
ence. "I was on camera as well," he says. 
"Leonard Nimoy directed it, and it was EUza- 
beth Shue and me in this little play, a 10- 
minute piece. While you're waiting in line to 
go on that ride, which takes you into the 
body — it's like Fantastic Voyage, you get 
shrunk down inside the body — it's a preamble: 
'Well, you're almost here, lemme just tell you' 
things. Then, it's, 'Welcome on board, sit back' 
and then it's the adventure, where you're in the 
ride. Elizabeth is the doctor, and there is repar- 
tee between us, and then she goes outside the 
ship into the bloodstream and gets swept away. 
We have to fmd her and save her. And that's the 
ride. It was a lot of fun. We rehearsed for a day 
or two and then we shot it. It was almost con- 
tinuous takes. I really liked working with 
Leonard, and Elizabeth was cool." 


One of Matheson's best-known acting jobs 
was also one of his earliest — and he didn't 
even appear on-camera. Hanna-Barbera's 
Jonny Quest is still fondly remembered today 
by Baby Boomers and their children, and the 
actor admits that the 1964-65 animated series 
offered him an equally happy time as well. 
Voicing the young adventurer, Matheson 
worked with a dream cast of voiceover stars, 
from regulars like Don Messick to occasional 
guest actors. "I worked with Mel Blanc — I did 
a whole series after that one with Mel — and 
Everett Sloane," he says. "They would get all 
of these great old character actors, from the 

Though Sometimes 
They Come Back, 
Matheson found the 
Stephen King TV film of 
vengefully animated 
student bodies "a 
wonderful experience." 

Mercury Theatre to whoever. All of these guys, 
from Vic Perrin to Olan Soule — every charac- 
ter actor you ever saw in Dragnet did great 
voice work. That was my introduction to the 
radio world. Back then, I hadn't really studied 
yet — I had taken some acting classes, but I was 
basically going on instinct. And then I hit this 
awkward period where I didn't really act that 
much, between 16 and 18, but I did a lot of 
voice work. I was led into the world of these 
fabulous actors with tremendous credits — 
Sloane, Joe Cotten, people like that — all of 
these actors I had grown up watching on TV 
came out of radio and were tremendously 
adept and made a fortune doing voice work. 

"They had tremendous skill. Working with 
Mel, Don or any of these guys — they could 
play five characters in one scene, and talk to 
each other, and jump back and forth, in total 
command of characters that they had just made 
up, and never miss a voice or an accent. I real- 

ized then that I had better start studymg and 
develop some technique, because on certain 
occasions as a young actor, you get on a set and 
emotionally, you just don't feel like doing it 
that day. As you get older and more experi- 
enced, you learn that technique will help on 
those days to get you into the zone to perform. 
Through those people — because I knew 
them — I got into a ckcuit where I did a lot of 
voice work on radio and commercials. It was a 
great learning experience for me. Jonny Quest 
was a lot of fun." 

Bill Hanna, and particularly Joe Barbera. 
were closely involved with the series. "Joe was 
very helpful to me and supportive," Matheson 
observes. "I did several series for him, like 
Young Samson, Sinbad Junior and 
Space Ghost, and I did audio 
records for them as well. Joe 
let me write a couple of scripts 
when I was doing Young Sam- 
son. He allowed me to be as 
involved as I wanted to be. 
That was Joe, he was amazing. 
He would direct many of the 
shows. A real hands-on guy. Bill 
Hanna was more the backstage guy, 
doing what he did. But Joe interact- 
ed more with the talent." 

Many years later, Matheson did 
a robot voice in the TV movie Jonny 
Quest vs. the Cyber Insects, but he 
says the original series never got 
him another job. 

"I got away from voice work," he 
notes. "I love it, it's fun, and every 
now and then I go back and do 
something here and there, but it has 
not impacted on my life recently — 
other than that I collect animation 
eels. Joe sent me a Jonny Quest eel, 
and the last time they asked me to 
come back in, I said, 'I'll do it, but 
you guys have to give me some 
eels!' So they did. It was very sweet 
of them." 

Matheson voiced sleazy D.A. Gil 
Mason in the "Shadow of a Bat" two- 
parter on the animated Batman 
series. "I've done a couple of those 
episodes, and a couple of other 
Warner Bros, cartoons, like Legend of Calamity 
Jane with Jennifer Jason Leigh," he says, noting 
that voiceover work has not changed since the 
days of Jonny Quest. "You go in and do it, and 
it's pretty much the same." 


When Matheson is recognized on the street 
today, it is usually for Animal House, Buried 
Alive and its sequel, A Veiy Brady Sequel and 
now, The West Wing. The latter sees him play- 
ing Vice President John Hoynes to Martin 
Sheen's President as a recurring character on 
the hit NBC weekly series. 

"It's a very good show," he says. "[Creator] 
Aaron Sorkin is extremely talented. Aaron had 
asked me to come in and meet and audition. I 
said I would be thrilled, because I'm a big fan 
of his movies. So I came in, and they liked 
what they saw. It's a smart, hterate character, a 
bit Machiavellian, which is fun for me as an 

74 STARLOG/M^v 2000 

actor and gives spice to the show. And I think 
it's close to the real world of politics, at least 
based on the stories I've been told by friends in 

The West Wing is an ideal job for Mathe- 
son, because even though he isn't in every 
show, he is an integral part of the cast. "It's 
great, because I can go and direct and they 
understand," he says. "I flew in and did a show 
in pre-production, and I just did one yesterday. 
I'm going to Washington this weekend to 
shoot a scene — it's the best of all worlds for 
me. I can do my directing and act in my 
movies and TV, and they'll accommodate me 
in that regard. And Aaron never knows what 
he's going to write until he sits down and does 
it. He's so spontaneous, he never knows who's 
going to be in it until it comes out on the page." 

Matheson has also just finished acting in 
the upcoming Chump Change, and is clearly 
delighted with the result. "It was one of the 
funniest scripts, and I had a ball!" he says. 
"[Writer-director Steve Burrows] writes really 
good characters, and I loved the spirit in which 
they made it. It was low-budget, no-nonsense 
filmmaking, but he had a great director of pho- 
tography, f had two days to do 20 pages, and 
it's very dense material, extremely funny stuff, 
but it had to be totally straight. My speeches 
went on for a page — I would go on for a page, 
then Steve would say, 'Uh-huh,' and I would 
go off for another page! It was a real challenge 
to try and make it real and funny, but it looks 
really good." 

As a successful child actor who has 
become a successful adult actor with a career 
spanning decades in film, television and 
voice acting, Tim Matheson is extremely 
happy with the way his career has panned 
out. "I would be a fool not to be!" he 
exclaims. "It's a blessing to be in this busi- 
ness, and it's a joy to work with creative, 
spontaneous, funny people. If I didn't do this, 
I don't know what I would do. It's constantly 
a survival game. I make a joke that 24 hours 
a day, everybody in every other position in 
this business is trying to get you out of this 
business, and you must spend all of your 
energies creafing opportunities for yourself 
to practice your art and craft. Occasionally, 
the phone rings and somebody says, 'Hey, do 
you want to play this great part in this great 
project?' But I ain't holding my breath, and 
one needs to protect one's self from the ups 
and downs in this business so that you don't 
personalize it. Oftenfimes, that's just the way 
things are — you have hot streaks and cold 
streaks, just like athletes. You have to steel 
yourself and protect your craft and keep your 
head straight, so that when the right part 
comes along, you can deliver. 

"You have to posifion yourself. That's one 
of the things I learned from Spielberg and 
Michael Ritchie [Fletch]\ you have to be 
smart about the business end as well, to know 
when you have a chance to score. You have to 
have a business perspective on the whole 
thing — and don't hold grudges. I just want to 
posifion myself to grow as a director, to con- 
tinue to grow as an actor and, as a human 
being, continue my personal educafion — and 
not get cynical." ^ 




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All Pitch Black Photos: Copyright 1999 Universal Studios 

In Pitch Black, Imam (Keith David, 
left) and fellow spacewreck 
survivors (Rhiana Griffith, Radha 
Mitchell & Vin Diesel) must go to the 
light — cause the dark's a killer. 

feel that in one of my previous lives, I was a philoso- 
pher," explains actor Keith David. "So I like the philoso- 
phy of science fiction. Science fiction, if nothing else, is 
philosophical. You start out with a premise and then you take these 
wonderful, imaginative quantum leaps into different realms, into 
different realities, and you must fashion a philosophical founda- 
tion for the world you create." 

Given those words, it is easy to see why David found himself 
attracted to Pitch Black, writer-director David Twohy's SF/horror 
hybrid, which goes to great lengths to explore the deeper 
meaning — emotionally, spiritually and philosophical- 
ly — of a story that pits a group of people against terrors 
both real and imagined after their ship crash-lands, strand- 
ing them on a remote, seemingly deserted planet. 

Holy Man 

David, a genre veteran whose credits include Tlie Thing, Spawn, They 
Live, Exorcist III, The Puppet Masters SLndAjuiageddon, co-stars as Imam, a 
MusHm cleric who serves as the calm in the storm. He's surrounded by the 
more emotionally attenuated likes of Fry (Radha Mitchell), the conflicted 
docking pilot now in charge; Riddick (Vin Diesel), a fearsome convicted 
killer who can see in the dark; Johns (Cole Hauser), an erratic lawman intent 
on keeping Riddick in check; Shazza (Claudia Black), a tough-as-nails geol- 
ogist; Paris (Lewis Fitz-Gerald), a selfish antique dealer; and Jack (Rhiana 
Griffith), a teen harboring a potentially deadly secret. 

"What attracted me to Pitch Black is that Imam is a man of 
spirit and he refuses to give up his faith, even though it is shak- 
en and, at some points, shattered," David notes. "He continues 
to believe that there is a God and that He will find a way to 
bring us out of this. Imam believes that there is another side to 
this predicament. I think it's that faith that gets us through." In 
one crucial, albeit brief, scene, Riddick taunts Imam and his deep confidence 
in God after one of his three young followers (Sam Sari, Firass Dirani and 

heroic as 

Keith David 
now helps 

hanish tne 
terror of 

Pitch B 


76 STARLOG/Ma>' 2000 

Photo: Sean Barnes 

On a strange, 
world, feral 
predators wait ^ 
for darkness to 
strike, but David 
notes it doesn't 
shake his 
religious zeal. 
"Imam is a man 
of spirit." 

David's soulful vocal talent was key to realizing the dark, 
soulless depths of the animated Spawn. 

Les Chantery) is killed by the creatures. David 
wanted that scene to run longer. "As an actor 
and a philosopher, of course I wanted more," 
he says. "It wouldn't have advanced the plot 
any, however. What would have been nice was 
if it were more of an ongoing conversation. But 
that's a different movie. When I write my 
movie, that's what it will be about." 

Preparing for Pitch Black, David studied 
the Koran. He conferred with three religious 
scholars. He read about "the beauties" of 
Islam. Then he got to the set in Coober Pedy, 
Australia, and he settled in for several months 
of a tough shoot, what with the ever-changing 
weather and the pitfalls of dealing with the 
creature FX. "Oh, it had its moments," David 
says in his booming voice. "It definitely had its 
moments, but, all in all, Australia is a beautiful 
country. Even Coober Pedy. in the desert, with 
all the freezing cold, pouring rain and the 

heat — it was all won- 
derful. I love that smff. 

"In terms of the 
creatures. I didn't know 
what the hell to imagine. 
I frankly do not remem- 
ber if there was a 
description of the crea- 
tures in the script or not. 
They did show us mock- 
ups and little models. It 
was kind of neat, you 
know? The creatures 
were a cross between 
Rodan and a hammer- 
head shark. One of my 
favorite moments in the 
film is Vin wrestling 
with the creature, when 
he does that little dance 
after discovering its 
blind spot. But what I 
loved most was the creatures' point-of-view. 
Those shots are ver\' effective." 

Genre Crusades 

David's prior genre outings were also 
effective — to varying degrees. The Thing, 
which cast the actor as Childs, repelled audi- 
ences upon its release, but is now considered a 
genre classic. They Live, his second collabora- 
tion with Thing director John Carpenter, is 
generally regarded as an ambitious failure 
about the evils of consumerism and subliminal 
messages in advertising. The Puppet Masters, 
based on the classic Robert A. Heinlein novel, 
mastered absolutely nothing, while the save- 
the-Earth epic Annageddon emerged as one of 
the biggest popcorn flicks of summer 1998. 
David graciously obliges a request to comment 
on each of those films. 

"My humble-ass opinion is that Universal 

"I try not to be 
sound and fury 
signifying nothing." 

wanted The Thing to be their big sum- 
mer [1982] film," the actor begins. "It 
was not a summer film. I believe that 
if they had brought The Thing out in 
October, November or even Christ- 
mas, it would have done well. But it 
ended up competing with Poltergeist 
and E.T. which just knocked every- 
thing out of the pocket. I don't think 
Poltergeist was a great film. It was 

good. It was kind of cool. But I 

thought The Thing was a better film. So, we 
also had these genre films competing with each 
other. It was a question of timing. I thought 
John did a fantastic job, and it was a fantasfic 
experience for me. 

''They Live was a different film. It has a dif- 
ferent kind of resonance. As I remember, it was 
number one at the box office for two weeks and 
then out of the theaters, as if — and I am not 
being paranoid — the Powers That Be said. 
'Unh-unh, this is too deep, too resonant. I don't 
even want people to think about this kind of 
shit.' The point was that there are other ener- 
gies that are working against the best efforts of 
us as a cohesive people, in order to raise deri- 
sion between us, to keep us in this separate 
kind of mentality. 

''Puppet Masters was science fiction, and I 
enjoyed it," David says. "I had a decent time 
with it. I do not necessarily think of Annaged- 
don as science fiction, though I guess it could be. 
It was not all that much science fiction for me is 
the way I would put it. I loved working on 
Armageddon. I got to be Colin Powell, man! The 
film was a bit sentimental. It tugged on your 
heart strings a little bit, and the first time I saw it, 
I cried. I was literally moved, if by nothing else, 
than by the idea that this could happen." 

David's genre credits don't end with his 
big-screen exploits. Thanks to his animation- 
ready voice, the actor has put words into the 
mouths of characters on such shows as The 
Fantastic Four (T'Challa, the Black Panther). 
Hercules (Apollo) and, most notably. Gar- 
goyles and Spawn. Gargoyles, which featured 
David as the heroic leader Goliath, ran for sev- 
eral years. Spawn, with David as the title char- 
acter, continues to air on HBO. "I love voice 
work," he enthuses. "First of all, I love anima- 
tion. It's animation as opposed to cartoons. 
Also, I don't have to dress up. I don't have to 
see anybody. I only have to see the microphone 
and my dkector. On Gargoyles, it was not usu- 
ally possible to sit in the round and play off 
each other. In the recording studio, if there 
were several of us there, we were usually in 
booths adjacent to each other. We were in a 
line. That was a little hard, because you want to 
play with the other actors. It becomes a matter 
of concentration. 

"Goliath is my most favorite character. 
When I grow up, I want to be like Goliath. As 
a man, as an entity, he embodies every good 
quality I believe a man should have. He is 
powerful and sweet and lovely. He has a tem- 
per, but he does not kill anybody. One of the 
main reasons Gargoyles went off the market 
was because, from a marketing point-of-view, 
the target market was children, but more 
adults than kids watched it. That was not the 
plan and since it did not fit the plan, they said. 

78 STARLOG/May 2000 

Gargoyles Art: Copyright 1995 The Walt Disney Company 

'Let's wipe it out.' 

"I love Spawn, too, because Spawn to me is like Daith Vader work- 
ing his way back to [the light side of] the Force," he continues. "Spawn 
ha's made a bargain with the Devil that he doesn't really remember. He 
winds up doing good almost in spite of himself. So he's wending his 
way back. He is a'blatant example of the internal struggle that each of us 
must deal with. Everybody has a dark side. Now, how do you deal with 
that dark side? There are times you feel like you want to kill somebody. 
But when it comes to actually snuffmg someone's life out, most of us 
draw the line, no matter how angry we may get. What I love about 
Spawn, as opposed to GoUath, is that he has to deal with a very imme- 
diate struggle. That's another level of reality we all deal with every day. 
We all have a temper and anger and buttons to be pushed." 

Dramatic Meccas 

Born in Harlem and raised in Queens. New York, David began 
singing in a choir as a kid and hasn't stopped. He attended the High 
School of the Performing Arts and, later. JuiUiard. Since graduating, he 
has jumped back and forth from the stage to films to television, amass- 
ing such non-genre credits as Jelly's Last Jam (for which he received a 
Tony Award nomination) and Seven Guitars on stage; The Tiger Woods 
Story (directed by LeVar Burton) and Don King: Only in America on 
television; and the films There's Something About Ma jy, dockers, Vol- 
cano, The Quick and the Dead, Bird and Platoon. 

Not surprisingly, David has also done some narration, putting to use 
that great tool that is his voice. This fall, he will be heard as the narrator 
of Jazz, a 20-hour documentary from Ken Bums. However blessed he 
may feel to possess so powerful an instrument, David does not wish to 
overdo it or rely on his voice to do his acting for him. "I try not to sing 
my performances," explains the actor, who considers John Forsythe, 
Percy Rodrigues, Lome Greene and William Conrad his narration 
heroes. "I trylnot to be sound and fury signifying nothing. Just sounding 

David enjoyed his voice 
work on Gargoyles, and 
says he admires Goliath 
because, "he embodies 
every good quality I 
believe a man should 

Certain films, like 
Armageddon, David 
considers more dramatic 
fare, but he asserts that 
''Puppet Masters was 
science fiction." 

David (pictured as Childs) thinks John Carpenter's TheThing's ill- 
timed summer release was the main reason it received a chilly box- 
office reception. 

They Live should have been a bigger hit, according to 
David. He wonders if the Powers That Be were involved in 
its failure... Work harder. You're tired. Obey. 

pretty is not what I want to do. I am not going to say I have never been 
moved by or romanced into my own sound. But I do not want whatever 
I am trying to say to be lost because I'm so busy trying to intone and 
sound good. 

"John Gielgud said about himself, 'Oh, so many years that I have lis- 
tened to the sound of my own voice, and how terribly boring.' Form- 
nately, I have been called on it so many times that you concentrate on 
the work at hand. What is the task? My voice will always be there, but I 
do not want to ovemse it. I want it to be a tool with which to communi- 
cate, but not as something to hide behind as though I don't know what I 
am doing." 

David must be doing something right, as he has been working as 
steadily as ever. He recendy completed two upcoming features, Where 
the Heart Is with NataUe Portman and The Replacements with Keanu 
Reeves and Gene Hackman. Right now, he is back in New York City, 

performing a night club act at the Hotel Delmonico. A fmal mention of 
Pitch Black, however, prompts a few more deep thoughts from David. 
He elaborates on the notion that mankind might one day bring religion 
to other worlds. 

"We have akeady gotten in trouble for bringmg it around the block," 
Keith David notes. "If man would embrace spirit and bring spirit to 
other worlds, that would be a different outlook. Really, in a perfect 
world, I would like to embrace whatever philosophy your spirit 
embraces. We could sit and worship God together in whatever way you 
choose to do that. What we can agree upon is that we can recognize 
higher power and we can celebrate that together. Help me understand 
how you get there, how you got there, and I will try to help you under- 
stand how I got there. And therein is a bridge to our humanity, and there 
is no place we cannot go, especially if we respect whatever boundaries 
there are and celebrate the differences as well as the similarities." ^ 

STARLOG/Maj 2000 79 

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, Taylor, Carolyn Seymour. 
Six synopses. $7 

fl/H McFadden. Hallie (Lai) 
Todd. Five synopses. $7 

//29 Q's Wit, five writers. 
Five synopses. $7. 

//30 Deluxe final issue. * 
Season milestones. 21 por- 
traits. Nine synopses com- 
pleting Season 7 $10- 

Auberjonois. Four syn- 
opses. $7. 

ItVi Shimerman interview- 
Posters: Brooks, Visitor, 
Siddig, Meaoey. Seven 
synopses. $7. 

//2() DS9 women interviews: 
Chao, Masterson, Felecia M. 
Bell. Posters: Farrell, Visitor, 
Chao, Masterson, Bell. The 
Art of DS9. $7 

//21 Interviews: Jeffrey 
Combs, Wallace Shawn. 
J.G- Hertzler. Posters: 
Louise Fletcher, Combs, 
Shawn. Hertzler, 
Grod4nchik. Rules of 
Acquisition wall poster. $7. 

//22 Interviews: Dom, 
Farrell, Shimerman & direc- 
tor Cliff Bole. Five syn 

opses. Posters: Dom & . 
Fan-ell (wedded & solo), 
Shimerman, Brooks, Siddig, 
Auberjonois, Meaney. $7. 

//2 ; All sixth season station 
log issue, 10 synopses from 
"ATimetoStand" to 
"Statistical Improbabilities." 
Posters: Alaimo^ Lofton, 
Anglim, Visitor, Melanie 
Smith, MarcWorden. $7. 

//24 Interviews: Casey 
Biggs, Smith, Meaney. Six 
synopses. Posters: Brooks, 
Dom, Visitor, Meaney, 
Biggs. Shepherd. $7. 

//2') Final issue! 10 syn- 
opses wrapping up the 
sixth season. "Wrongs 
Darker Than Death or 
Night" to "Tears of the 
Prophets " Posters. $7. 










































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Kevin J. 

over his 

1^ ^i^^i^i 

evin J. O'Connor is good at what he does. So good, in fact, 
that his role as mentally unstable seer Warren Day on 
NBC's genre TV series The Others has made him a bit of a pari- 
ah on the set. 

"I'm not always easy to be around on the set," chuckles O'Con- 
nor, who is relaxing in his trailer just off the Paramount soundstage 
where The Others is being filmed. "I tend to need a little quiet time 
when I'm getting into Warren. We were shooting this scene the 
other day where Warren is mumbling and rambling about some- 
thing and making absolutely no sense. The director said cut 
and I walked over to this crew guy and started talking to 
him about something. He was just staring at me kind of 
funny, and I finally said, 'You know, people seem to look 
at me like I'm crazy. Is it the role?' The crew guy said, 'No, no,' as he started backing up." 

Sight of Day 

O'Connor laughs again. A quiet, yet calculating laugh that, when combined with his gaunt features 
and wide, intense eyes, well illustrates why O'Connor has — as with his parts in The Mummy, Gods and 
Monsters, Deep Rising and Lord of lUusions — once again been cast in a somewhat crazed role in The 

"There is a sort of general wackiness in the roles I play," sighs the actor, casting a really deranged look 
for effect. "But I know my place in the universe. I'm a character actor. I'm not a leading man. Many 
actors play a type. I tend to play the crazy person, the person slightly off balance." 

Which is why O'Connor did not hesitate when his role in The Others, the series about a group of peo- 
ple with psychic powers who explore the paranormal, turned out to be more of the same. That isn't to say 
it will stay that way, though — not if the actor has anything to say about it. "I immediately went to the 
character's diversities. I saw the idea of making this apparently unstable person a human being as a real 
challenge. So while, in a sense, this role is typical of the things I get offered, I did see enough that was 
different to 20 for it." 


82 S1AKL0G/Ma\ 2000 

Can you trust this 
man? Not a 
millimeter. As Beni, 
O'Connor is ever- 
ready to betray 
anyone for his own 

Mummy Photos: ILM/ Copyright 1999 Universal City Studios, Inc. 

On the surface, Day appears to be a home- 
less, possibly schizophrenic man, prone to 
incoherent utterances centered around his abil- 
ity to pick up on the significance of signs, num- 
bers, words and colors. The actor already feels 
he has a good grasp of the character. "In a way, 
he's potentially the most dangerous character 
on the show. Warren has most certainly had 
some major mental breakdowns in his life and 
had many visits to the mental hospital. But 
what I like about the character is that he seems 
to have many different levels. He's also very 
childlike, very naive. He's like a dog. He's 
open to many things and he takes a lot of things 

in. But he is also someone who, if he has a bad 
day, could become a [troublesome element] for 
many people." 

O'Connor warns, though, that Day hasn't 
come to TV as a fully realized character — 
there will be plenty of room for growth. "In the 
pilot, I'm pretty dark and crazy and in my own 
thoughts. Then, we ease into the fact that I'm a 
more likable person. We're actually shooting 
an episode in which I have a mild flirtation 
with one of the women in the group. They're 
bringing Warren along slowly. At the begin- 
ning, he's a person who most people immedi- 
ately think is [wrong somehow]. But it's 
important to him that he has finally been 
accepted into a group of people who, in a 
sense, are like him. The scripts are making a 
big point of painting Warren as a person who 
cannot fit in any place having finally found a 
place where he fits. 

"And it's not just a matter of this character's 
evolmion," O'Connor continues. "This guy has 
a power that, at times, he doesn't really under- 
stand and, at other times, he firmly compre- 
hends. He can stand on his own but, at least in 
the episodes so far, he's the one the other char- 
acters tend to take care of, and that's the neat 
thing about the show. It seems that people who 

At The 

Mummy's end, 
Beni gets his 
just desserts — 
as a snack for 

scurrying, ever- 
hungry scarab 

would never come together in ordinary- 
life are thrown together because of 
their abilities, and they all sort of take 
care of each other." 

Like the rest of the 
cast, O'Connor is inter- 
ested in exploring other 
dramatic avenues aside 
from dealing with the 
supemamral. He says it's 
still too early in the 
show's life to be looking 
for deep back stories, but 
that the cast is already 
wrestling with a great deal of dark 
humor. The suggestion of possible 
romances between the members of the 
supernatural elite breaks up the nor- 
mally stoic O'Connor. "You mean is 
there a chance of Warren getting laid 
on this show? If you have any kind of power, 
write some letters because that's what this 
show really needs: Warren getting lucky. 

"Seriously, these characters are human 
beings, so I see a definite possibility of that 
kind of thing happening. In the episode we're 
shooting right now, I'm distracted from what 
we're doing because I sort of have this crush on 
Marian [Julianne Nicholson]. It's turning into a 
good episode for me because we get to see 
Warren with a childlike demeanor as well as 
the intense, obsessive streak. He's all over the 
place, and I love it." 

That's not to say he wouldn't mind Day 
straightening out every so often. "I would like 
to see Warren wear a suit once and be shaved. 
And that's no joke. Cleaning Warren up would- 
n't be a bad thing. I would like to see him get 
better mentally and have fewer problems than 
he has now." 

Lore of Illusions 

O'Connor digresses, with obvious relish, to 
his other genre efforts. He describes Gods and 
Monsters "as a heavy atmospheric film in 
which I really got to work out." 

He served as comedic relief in two other 
parts, the sinister Beni in The Mummy and the 
cowardly Pantucci in Deep Rising — two roles 
ruled by just as many fears as the duplicitous 
magician he played in Lord of Illusions. ''The 
Mummy was fun. It had this old-fashioned, 
almost Abbott and Costello feel to it at times. It 
had a whole different feel from Deep Risifig. It 
was not a serious movie, but gave me the 
opportunity to exaggerate and go over the top. 
Swann in Lord of Illusions was pretty much a 
character who was by himself. He was living in 
fear that the ground was going to open up and 
swallow him." 

One thing that the actor loved about all his 
fantastic roles was the opportunity to play off 
special effects. "I loved that smff ! I was a pret- 
ty good student when it came to acting oppo- 
site it. I would always ask questions. I always 
wanted to know what I was playing off of and 
what things were going to look like. I found 
that the worst thing you could do was not ask 
those questions. I've always wanted my reac- 
tions to be the right ones." 

It's a good thing O'Connor is comfortable 
in the fantasy world, because in recent years, 


« m 


84 STARLOG/May 2000 

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A professor of folklore and mythology, Professor Miles Ballard (John Billingsley) helps guide The Others. 

Among The Others, 
John Billingsley is 
happy just being 

0 you know John Billingsley? No? Well, you're not 

"Nobody would know me if they ran over me," says BilUngsley, 
mildly lampooning his lack of name recognition. "And that was when 

1 first came to town. Three years later and Fm still a complete non- 
entity. This can only help me." 

Billingsley is having a good laugh about things like obscurity and 
stereotyping during ^a mid-morning conversation in his trailer on the Paramount lot 
where, hopefully, his first regular ^stint in NBC's Saturday night series The Others 
will also become his first 

regular stint in NBC's Saturday night series The Others j^p 
big TV success. Bilhnsslev plavs 

r natural 

Professor Miles Ballard in this tale of a psychic support group attempting to under- 
stand their powers and the world beyond the pale. And Billingsley is thrilled that, for 
the first time in ages, he's not playing a per\^ert. 

"For some reason, when you get out of college, you think you're going to play a 
leading man," deadpans the actor.^"But then the world kind of tells you who you real- 
ly are. Consequently, I've had a fair number of parts playing pedophiles, creepozoids 
and low-lifes. I project a kind of vulnerability and creepiness which has tended to 
type me as a likable scumbag." 

Absolutely Normal 

Eluding the spectre of typecasting delights Billingsley. And that's why, after 
seemingly^spendins three years slogging through demented guest shots on The X- 
Files. Profiler. The^ Pretender, NYPD Blue and T/?^ Practice, he was thrilled by his 
first audition for a series regular. It turned out to be for the somewhat strange but 
decent Professor Ballard, the brains behind the psychically gifted Others. 

"I love the fact that Ballard is so pas- 
sionate about all this strange stuff," offers 
the actor. "He really doesn't care if people 
ridicule him, point fingers at him or make 
him a laughing stock. The supernatural and 
the paranormal is what he beheves in, and 
he's single-minded in going after what he 
considers the truth." 

Billingsley proudly explains the power 
that makes Ballard special, even in the wild 
talent-laden world of The Others. "I'm the 
only one who doesn 't have a power," he 
announces. "My power is that I'm brilliant. 
I'm a professor of folklore and mythology. 

"Pm the only 
one who doesn't 
have a power* 
My powder is that 
rm brilliant/' 

STARLOG/May 2000 87 


"I project 
a kind of 
whicb. has 
tended to 
type me as 
a likable 

Essentially, Fm an anthropologist. There's 
very little I dofi 7 know about legends, myths, 
different cultures and the history of the para- 
normal. I'm kind of the brainiac of the group. 
In the stories so far, I'm frequently the guy 
who says to the rest of the group. 'Wait a 
minute! Wait a minute! What if we...'" 

Through the episodes of The Others shot so 
far, Billingsley has already seen some complex 
personal interactions within the group, adding 
depth to a series which the actor labels "Gilli- 
gan 's Island goes paranormal." He describes 
the friction among the gifted group of psychic 
explorers as "rifts and tears,'' and notes that 
Ballard is always in the thick of it. 

"My character and Albert [John Aylward] 

have this antipathy with each other. From his 
point-of-view, Fm an egghead, and from mine, 
he's a codger, so we clash a lot. There have also 
been moments where I feel like an outsider 
with this group because I don't have powers 
and abihties. Miles definitely has some bag- 
gage. My feeling is that he's a guy who is prob- 
ably estranged from his ex-wife and parents 
because of what he has chosen to do, but we 
really haven't gotten far enough into the series 
to begin exploring the characters' back stories 
in a very deep way. 

"Ballard takes a beating emotionally," he 
continues. "I think he's sort of a lonely person, 
and much of that is by choice. People who are 
single-minded and passionate often end up dri- 

ving other people away 
from them, and I think 
that's one of the things he 
has risked in his life." 

Not Really 

While Billingsley has a 
handle on his character, he 
admits to being at a loss to 
fully explain The Others. 
"I'm so hesitant to try and 
categorize it. When I saw 
the pilot script, I would 
have said. 'Well, this is 
going to be a ghost-story- 
of-the-week kind of show.' 
But they've definitely 
decided to broaden that. 
Now we're dealing with 
forces in the world that go 
unseen. This show is defi- 
nitely not moving into X- 
Files territory. It's not 
about aliens and govern- 
ment cover-ups. So far, it 
has been more personal 
stories with the paranormal 
thrown in. There have been 
hints and indications that 
the group will also be deal- 
ing with forces at work in 
the paranormal world that are marshaling 
against the Others and the rest of the world. So 
there may be this ongoing menace, but we're 
not really sure." 

One thing Billingsley is certain of: Com- 
paring this group to the Ghostbusters is look- 
ing for trouble. "We're definitely not an 
investigative team in the sense that we hang out 
a shingle and grub for cases. But our fascina- 
tion for this sort of thing brings people into our 

Billingsley notes that working with this 
cast and a very genre-heavy group of directors 
has been an education. "I've already worked 
longer with these people than I ever have with 
any group of actors. It's an interesting group in 

88 STARL0G/M^7y 2000 

that we're all hungry and, for the most part, 
have not experienced any real notoriety in our 
careers. So there has been a lot of real good 
give-and-take on the set. Everybody is pulling 
together to make everyone look good and to 
make this show a success. And you can't get a 
better education than what we've had come 
through here. We've had Mick Garris as direc- 
tor one week, Bill Malone the next and then 
Tobe Hooper. For a working actor, trying to 
experience and absorb as much as he can, it 
doesn't get any better than this." 

Well it could get better. For instance, if 
Billingsley's character found the time to get 
lucky in love. "From your mouth to God's ear," 
replies the actor. "They're certainly hinting at 
some romance between the younger and more 
attractive characters. But needless to say, when 
the writers are thinking of romance, my face 
isn't popping into their heads. I'm more the 
comic relief in this show. I certainly think that 
my fly will be down at any given point in time 
in this show." 

The actor's other voyages into genre TV 
have been nasty little side trips starkly con- 
trasting with the brilliant but normal Ballard. 
"In The X-Files, I was an assassin-watchdog 
for the bad guys called Timmy the Geek in the 
episode where the Lone Gunmen go to Las 
Vegas ["Three of a Kind"]," he relates. "In The 
Pretender, I had a fairly small part as a semi- 
retarded man who got shot and then screamed 
as he writhed in agony on the ground. That was 
a lot of fun. So was my part in a Profiler where 
I played a nut who exhumed corpses. I was 
there to torture, mutilate and wound. And of 
course, who can forget the rapist I played on 
NYPD Blue'^ Do you see a pattern developing 

Actually versatile 

Billingsley was bom in Pennsylvania, but 
the actor ^didn't stay there long. The son of a 
General Electric worker, he lived in a number 

"You think 
you're going to 
play a leading 
man, but then 
the world kind 
of tells you who 
you really are*" 

The actor found inmiediate work in Seattle 
and, over a decade, appeared in more than 50 
stage productions, including The Winter's Tale, 
Tvelfth Night and Great Expectations. As part 
of the touring company of Milwaukee's The- 
ater X, he hit the road in The History of Sexu- 
ality. He co-founded the Bookit Performing 

Love You to Death. 

"No, I've never done a Shan- 
non Tweed movie," he chuckles 
when asked if he had taken a turn 
or two in B-flicks. "But I would 
have and probably still would. 
People don't tend to see me as 
erotic thriller material. If I was 
ever in an erotic thriller, I would 
probably be the guy who got 

With The Others now airing, 
Billingsley remains optimistic, 
but guardedly cautious. "God 
knows, the way executives come 
and go, nobody has figured out a way to hand- 
icap^his stuff. But I think there's something 
here that could really work. There are aspects 
of this show that are unique, very different 
from anything else on television. Our cast of 
character actors is a type you don't see very 
often. With the success of The Sixth Sense and 

According to Billingsley, the friction among The Others are "rifts and tears" that haunt his character i 
those played by Bill Cobbs, Julianne Nicholson, Gabriel Macht and Melissa Crider. 

of different areas of the South and East before 
his family settled in Connecticut. "Because I 
was a Southern kid with a thick Southern 
drawl, I was an outcast until the fifth grade, 
when our teacher mandated that we all audition 
for the school production of A Christmas 
Carol. Because I was a big reader, I was one of 
the few people who could actually read con- 
vincingly from a script, so I got to play 
Scroog^e and, for a little while, I was sort of 
popular. So I confess, my initial love of acting 
was based totally on ego gratification." 

Throughout his high school years, BilHngs- 
ley balanced interests in acting and writing. 
While at Bennington College in Vermont, he 
decided to go into acting and, following gradu- 
' ation, he wasted little time in turning pro. 
"When I graduated from school, I felt like I 
wanted to "start right away making my living as 
an actor. Doing that in New York seemed kind 
' of tough, so I narrowed it down to three or four 
! cities "that had pretty decent regional theater 
b going on. I decided that Seattle was on the 
; upswing and moved there in 1982." 

Arts Company and was co-artistic director of 
the Freehold Studio Theater. Occasional roles 
in films shot in the area were also part of 
BiUingsley's repertoire — the most telling, in 
terms of fumre stereotyping, is what Billings- 
ley describes as "a now tough-to-watch turn" 
as a gun-toting hood in Seven Hours to Judg- 

However, by 1995, a crumbhng marriage 
and a growing sense of frustration convinced 
Billing"sley to head for Los Angeles. "With my 
own company in Seattle, I was getting bogged 
down in administrative work and I decided I 
had to go back to just acting. But the film scene 
in Seattle was drying up, and I felt it was going 
to be really hard to make my living anymore 
without the film and TV income." 

He relates that the first year in LA was 
"prett)' slow" but, by the second year, "I was 
getting to know people and working regularly." 
the actor began to pick up work in such films 
as Bom to Be Wild, Eat Your Heart Out and / 

Stir of Echoes, I would certainly say there's a 
desire out there for this kind of show." 

The Others being Billingsley's first series, 
the actor has had much to get used to, but not 
what you would expect. "Oddly enough, the 
weirdest thing I've had to adjust to is down 
time. On any given episode, I may only be 
called for three or four days, so there's not real- 
ly any time to audition or take other jobs 
because, technically, I'm on hold. That has 
been tough to get used to, because I've been a 
scrambling actor all my life. There has never 
been a day when I haven't gotten up and gone 
out. The other day, I actually found myself in 
my bathrobe at 1 p.m." 

John Billingsley has high hopes for a long 
run with The Others, if for no other reason than 
that it gives him a chance to play something 
other than "a per\^" or "a scuzzbag." "This is a 
good chance for me, whatever happens, 
because I'm playing a guy who's a hero — at 
least so far." 

STARLOG/Mav 2000 89 

When the Star Trek producers went looking for a Shakespearean actor with an athletic build, they eventually found Forest. 

All Atlas Photos: Copyright 1961 The Filmgroup All Star Trek Photos: Copyright 1967 Paramount Pictures & Norway Corp. 

mourn I n( 

An angry god, Forest raged against the light in his 
memorable visit to Classic Trek, 



ix-foot-three aiid weighing in at a lean, mean 215, Michael Forest was a 
nigged-looking addition to the Coiman brothers' list of leading men dur- 
ing their comer-cutting 1950s heyday. Forest film- debuted as the whip- 
cracking barbarian Zarko in Rogers disaster-plagued The Saga of the 
Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent 
( 1957} and soon rose to star status in Gene's Beast from Haunted Cave and Roger's Ski Troop 
Attack, both shot in winter 1959 in the snowy expanses of South Dakota. Forest was 
also up to his biceps in action in the made-in-Greece Atlas {I960), Roger's 
flimsy attempt to cut in on the mythological muscleman craze sparked by 
Steve Reeves' Hercules (1959). 

In between battles with beasts and Viking women. Forest worked in 
Shakespearean plays and other legitimate productions as classy as his 
real name (Gerald Michael Charlebois). Bom in Han^ey, North Dako- 
ta, he moved with his family at an early age to Seattle, attended the 
r University of Washington for a year and then made his way south to the 
sunnier campus of San Jose State. Graduating with a B.A. in English and 
drama, Forest came to Hollywood in 1955 and started acting on 

T\'and on stage at the Plavers Ring. In 1957, he began to study with veteran actor/acting teacher Jeff Core}\ 
in whose classes Forest first encountered Roger Comian. Forest worked extensively on TV and in films (many 
made in Europe), but— for his American fans, at least— few of his acting credits are as well-remembered as his 
TV stints on The Outer Limits and Star Trek and his notorious ''Comian quartet." 

STARLOG: What was your first film? 

MICHAEL FOREST: The first film was a real winner [laughs]— \i was with Roger Corman, Viking Women 
and the Sea Serpent. And, boy, what a real turkey that was! Curiously enough, I met Roger at Jeff Corey's 
classes because Roaer was in the same class with me. The reason he was there was because he wanted to be a 
little more famiUar with acting. He had never been a drama student at Stanford University, he was m engi- 
neering, so it wasn't Hke he had grown up in the theater. So this was a way by which he could learn more about 
it And' it was to his credit, because he was akeady producing and directing pictures. One day he said to me, 
'^Look, Mike, do you want to do this picture [Viking Women]! It would be nothing more than kind of a glon- 
fied stuntman, but if you want to do it, fine." I said, "Sure!" 

STARLOG: You're seen in the picture quite a bit. . 
FOREST: [Laughs] I positioned myself at all times alongside Dick Devon, the number-one heavy m the piece, 
so that it appeared Uke I was his number-one henchman. At one point Roger asked me, as he was about to shoot 
a close-up with two or three people, "Mike, were you standing there in the last shot?" I said [casually], "Yeah, 
this is where I was," and he said [suspiciouslyl "OK..." I made sure I was always right there, featured m the 
shot — 

t made sure 
to>stick close to 
Viking Women co- 
star Richard Devon 
(with pointy 
headware) to 
stretch his on- 
camera time. 

STARLOG: Whether you should have been or not? 
FOREST: Whether I should have been or not! I had a lot of fun doing 
it, despite the fact that it was a real piece of dreck — which Fm sure 
Roger would be one of the first to admit! 
STARLOG: Tell me about your fellow cast members. 
FOREST: The girls on the show were really nice to work with. They 
were good sports. Betsy Jones-Moreland was a very nice girl and a good 
actress — although you can't tell from that picture! Abby Dalton was 
working with Jeff Corey at the time, too, and I knew her from those 
classes. And Lynn Bemay I remember — Lynn. Betsy, Abby and I got 
along real great. It wasn't that I didn't get along with the others, but 
Lynn, Betsy and Abby were the ones I was always pushin' around or hit- 
ting with my cat-o' -nine-tails. We 
had a lot of fun jokin' about that 
[laughs]. And Gary Conway was a 
very nice guy, everybody got along 
with Gary. A beautifully built guy 
and very pleasant. 

STARLOG: Richard Devon has an 
active dislike of Corman that may 
have begun on that picture, because 
he saw no precautions being taken as 
people were getting hurt left and 
right — including him. 
FOREST: I tho^ught Dick Devon did 
fairly well in that picture, considering 
the situation. In fact, he was quite 
good — he's a very good actor. I did 
several pictures with Roger, and I 
will say this about him: He was a bit 
cavalier in the way he would do 
things and allow the actors to take the 
chances that they did. But I must also 

say this: Roger was right there. I mean, if he asked you to climb up 
something and you said, "Where do you want us to climb?" he would 
climb up and show you — "This is what I want you to do." It wasn't as if 
he was saying, "Go out there and battle that tiger, I'll just stand back 
here and watch you do it" — you know what I mean? He was good about 
that. But he didn't really protect the actors that much from getting hurt, 
not in the early days, anyway. I never got seriously hurt — I banged up 
my knees a couple of times and got a few bumps and bruises, but noth- 
ing more or less than you would get doing Westerns at Warner Bros. 

It was sort of a "gag" in the picture that Jonathan Haze and I were 
always fighting: Here I was, this big guy, beating the crap out of 
Jonathan, and of course at the picture's end, I get my comeuppance 
when he drowns me in the ocean. Curiously enough, that final fight was 

According to Forest, co-star Leslie Parrish wasn't very 
comfortable as a Hollywood actress. Soon after this 
Trek, she left the biz. 

done on the first day of shooting and, I ended up with a sprained 
ankle and a sprained wrist. That was a bit tough, that day! 
STARLOG: I have to take my hat off to Jonathan Haze. For a little 
guy, he really threw himself into all those fight scenes. 
FOREST: We were lookin' out that we didn't really hurt each other 
too badly. Well, for one thing, we had bare skin, we didn't have any 
clothes on that we could put pads underneath. When we went crash- 
ing down onto a floor or onto that stony ground, it was right straight 
down on bare skin and bare bodies! 

STARLOG: Do you recall how you were picked to star in Roger 
and Gene Gorman's South Dakota movies? 

FOREST: The director of Beast fivm Haunted Cave, Monte Hell- 
man, was someone I knew quite well — I knew him as Monte Him- 
melbaum, which is his real name. He called me one day and said, 
"Listen, we're gonna do this picture in South Dakota, and Frank 
Wolff is gonna be on it, and you can be on it, too. I want you to go 
down and meet Gene Corman." I said, "Fine," and I went to the 
office and met Gene. Roger was also there and we talked, and it was 
like a done deal even before I walked in because Monte wanted me 
to do the picture. Beast and Ski Troop Attack were done back-to- 
back: We did Beast first; then Roger came up the day we were fin- 
ishing Beast, we had one day off and started the next picture! 
STARLOG: With the same cast, the same everything. 
FOREST: Yeah, the same people, with the exception of just a couple 
who went back to LA. We did two pictures in five weeks. Those two pic- 
tures were really hard — what was taking place was tough on us physi- 

STARLOG: Tell me about Chris Robinson, who played the Beast. 
FOREST: We didn't see much of Chris. He had made some kind of a 
deal to build the monster, and he stayed pretty much to himself Dick, 
Frank, Monty, Wally Campo and I — we were all together most of the 
time. It wasn't as if we were shunning Chris or anything like that, but he 
was kind of involved in keeping his monster together. 
STARLOG: There isn't a good look at the Beast in the whole movie. 
Standing there right next to it and looking at it, what were your impres- 

FOREST: I kept lookin' at it and think- 
ing, "This doesn't scare me at all!" 
[Laughs] But it was supposed to, I guess! 
Chris was doing the best he could under 
the circumstances, trying to make this 
thing walk when he could hardly move in 
it. It was supposed to be something that 
we were terrified of and shooting at it 
when it was attacking. Well [laughs], you 
could walk faster than it could move! 
STARLOG: The cave in the movie— 
where was that? 

FOREST: That was an abandoned mine. 

They opened it up for us to shoot in there, 
and it was a bit of a dodgy situation. 
There was nothing shoring it up, and it 
was a huge cavern — they literally had 
hollowed out a mountain. We were shoot- 
ing guns, and just that reverberation was 
enough to set off some problems — stuff 
falling off the ceiling. I was always a bit nervous about working in there. 
One of the other problems we had was the air — it got very bad in there, 
it got very stale quickly. They tried to pump air in, but they didn't have 
the kind of equipment that would take care of it sufficiently. 
STARLOG: What were you paid to star in Beast and Ski Troop Attack? 
FOREST: [Laughs] I got the big bucks on that, $500 a week. I think at 
that time, minimum weekly was $350 and I got $500 — I held out for big 
bucks! Five weeks to shoot two pictures, so...S2,500? Big bucks. And I 
thought I was in the tall clover [laughs] ! 

STARLOG: Did you have any contact with writer Charles B. Griffith, 
who wrote three of your Corman films? 

FOREST: Oh, I bumped into Griffith several times over the vears. He 
has spent a lot of time in Australia, and he comes back and forth. I did 

Time to burn! Forest 
prepares to drop 
one of the Viking 
Women into the fiery 
sacrificial pit. 

not think too much of some of his writing, particularly Atlas 
[laughs]. As a matter of fact, the first day Frank Wolff and I got to 
Greece, we were reading the Atlas script in the hotel room. He had a 
copy and I had a copy and we were both going over it, and Chuck came 
in to sit there and get some impression as we were reading it. I turned to 
Frank and said, "f m on page 14." He said. 'Tm on 16." A little while 
later: "I'm on 30," "31." And finally Chuck got up and left. At which 
point, Frank said, "This is a real piece of shit!" and threw the script right 
out the window [laughs]. 
STARLOG: How did Atlas come about? 

FOREST: Because the Hercules pictures had become such a big thing. 
I think Roger wanted to capitalize on that, and so he figured he was 
gonna make a poor man's version of Hercules. And [laughs] that's what 
\tlas turned out to be. Originally, Roger wasn't sure where he was going 
to shoot, and he wasn't quite sure what the picture was going to be 
[laughs]\hx one point, he was talking about shooting it in Stockholm. 
STARLOG: Just as the film was about to go into production, Gorman 
called it his "first million-dollar production." How many hundreds of 
thousands of dollars was he off by? 

FOREST: An awful lot. You could cut that in half and still be exagger- 
ating [/awgM ! 

STARLOG: Did he try to give you the impression that Atlas wouia De 
a big picture? 

FOREST: That w'as his standard operating procedure with some of his 
actors. One assumed that, if we were going to Greece, if Roger was 
putting out the kind of money it took to bring us all over there, that he 
was going to make it pretty lavish. But obviously it wasnt very lavish. 
He got some of the Greek Army for practically nothing. They came in 
and^did their stuff, banging their cardboard shields with their wooden 
swords [laughs]\ It had some funny moments, that's for sure! But when 
Roger was shooting a picture, you just accepted the way he was gonna 
do it, or you didn't do it at all. 
STARLOG: You stayed in 
Athens during the movie's mak- 
ing, correct? 

FOREST: Right, in a hotel on 
Venizelou Street. It was right in 
the heart of Athens. And of 
course it was a wonderful experi- 
ence to be in Athens. When I was 
in school, I studied the Greeks, 
and to see and be part of all of 
those antiquities was really a 
thrill for me. We actually shot at 
the Acropolis, right on the 
Parthenon. Now they have it cor- 
doned off; you can obviously 
look at it, but they don't allow 
tourists to get up on the 
Parthenon itself any more. 

STARLOG: Did you feel you had the physique to step into a Reeves- 
type part? 

FOREST: [Sighs] I was fairly well-built, but not on that level. I was 
never that kind of a bodybuilder But, I figured, if Roger felt that I had 
the build for what he wanted, then, fine. But I never kidded myself that 
I was gonna scare Steve Reeves [laughsV- 

STARLOG: Did you go see these Gorman movies when they were 

FOREST: I did, because I was curious. They were just about what I 
expected. Every once in a while I would cringe a little— "Ewwww, God, 
what did I think I was doing there?"— I think actors are very critical of 
themselves! Then, every once in a while I would say, "Well, that wasn't 
bad. I can live with that." But most of the time I wasn't too pleased 

STARLOG: Any memories of Tiie Outer Limits and The Twilight 

FOREST: Tlie Outer Limits episode ["It Crawled Out of the Wood- 
work"] was directed by Gerd Oswald, and there was nothing outstand- 
ing that took place in that as far as I was concerned. One of the things I 
had to do was react to this monstrous form of energy coming toward me. 
Gerd said. "This is something that is absolutely scaring you to death. 
You can't go too far with it, with the fear Unfortunately, you're not 
gonna be able to see anything, you just gotta imagine it." So I had to 
really "let it all out" and react to something that I wasn't even seeing. I 
didn't want to look ridiculous, but Gerd said, "No. Believe me. You've 
got to 'sell' it." 

And The Twiliglit Zone ["Black Leather Jackets"] w as fun. [Lee Kin- 
solving, Tom Gilleran and Forest] played aliens on motorcycles in that. 
I used to ride motorcycles. They gave me a bike that had a regular foot 

clutch, which was the old-fash- 
/ ^ _ ioned kind that I was used to rid- 

ing. So they gave me this 1939 
Harley frame with a brand-new 
engine and a foot clutch — they 
call it a "suicide clutch." The 
other bikes had the hand clutch, 
which of course all bikes have 
now. It was fun because they 
were very hot bikes, and we did 
"wheelies" a few times, which 
we weren't supposed to do. But 
we got fooling around, and it 
was a fun episode to do. 

The actor calls Atlas"a poor 
man's version of Hercules" 
and the Steve Reeves— 
muscleman craze. 

^lARLOG/May 20Q() 

STARLOG: You're also known to SF fans for your Star Trek ["Who 
Mourns for Adonais?"]. 

FOREST: Fm always quite surprised that people remember it after 30 
years. But people who are devoted to the series do remember me 
because the episode plays so much. Who knew when we were doin' 
it? — it was just another episode of a TV show. In fact, a show that was 
not all that popular. I must say that, when I was doing it, I felt that this 
was a role that demanded a certain amount of depth, and other TV roles 
that Fve played didn't have that depth. This had more to it and I worked 
pretty hard to make it work. When I look at it in retrospect, I say, "I 
might have done a couple of things a little differently," but overall it 
works as a performance. 

STARLOG: Do you happen to know how you were selected to play 

FOREST: They wanted to fmd a Shakespearean actor who was fairly 
well-built — those were the "dynamics" they were looking for. They had 

even gone as far as London to look for an actor of that type. Then they 
called down to San Diego, to the [Globe Theatre] Shakespeare Festival, 
and asked if there was an actor there who could properly fill the bill. 
They said no, not at that time, but they said there had been an actor there 
[Forest], and that he was probably in Hollywood. They gave the Star 
Trek people my name, and they in turn called me and had me come in. 
That's how it all came about. I had quite an extensive background in 
Shakespeare, and of course they wanted somebody who had that sort of 
classic training. 

STARLOG: Did you even know what Star Trek was when they first 
approached you? 

FOREST: I knew about it because I was friendly with Leonard Nimoy 
before he got the show. As a matter of fact, he and I did a small low-bud- 
get picture together and during its making we had a slight break, three 
or four days, in the shooting schedule. That break allowed Leonard to go 
and test for a new SF TV show. When he came back, he said to us [dubi- 
ously], "You won't believe this show that I tested for. They had me 
wearing these funny rubber ears. I don't know if this show will ever go!" 
[Laughs] Of course, history has proved it to be quite the contrary! It's 
just a phenomenon beyond anything anybody ever dreamed. 
STARLOG: The low-budget movie you mentioned — that's Death- 
watch [1966]? 

FOREST: That's right, with Paul Mazursky. It was the first time that 
Vic Morrow had directed a picture, so everybody was kind of in "the 
experimental stage" with it [Iaughs]l It was a picture that could have 
been quite good, and just missed being very good, and by missing that, 
it wasn't very good. With a few additional [assets], it could have been a 
very good art picture — 

STARLOG: But without 'em, it missed by a mile! 
FOREST: For some reason, yeah [laughs] ! 
STARLOG: Did you have to test for Trek"! 

FOREST: I didn't test on camera, but I did have to go in and read for 
them. I went in at least twice; I went in the first time, and then they 
called me back. They were looking originally for a British actor, and 
they said that they wanted me to do it in a British accent, when I was 
auditioning. I said, "It would be rather false for me to try and do a 
British accent. I can do a British accent, but it won't be me, it won't 
really be the character." I had been trained in the theater and I had good 
theater speech, what we call "mid-Atlantic" — kind of in between 
American and British speech, but good, solid theater speech. I said, "I 
will give you that. I think that that should be what you should look for, 
particularly in light of the fact that it isn't written in the British idiom. 
It's written more in the American style of dialogue, albeit with classic 
overtones. I think you'll be satisfied with good, solid theater speech." 
And they accepted that idea. 

STARLOG: Were you still in good-enough shape at that time, or did 
you have to work out before you played the part? 
FOREST: I've always worked out, I was in very good shape. One of 
the things they wanted me to do during one of the readings was, they 
said, "We would like to see how physically well-built you are. Will you 
take your shirt off?" I said, "That's fine, I can do that." And I was in 
pretty good shape — I've been working out since I was in my early 
teens, and am still doing so. They saw that I was pretty well-built — 
nothing like an Arnold Schwarzenegger, but certainly sufficient for 
what they were looking for. 

STARLOG: Ever run across Gene Roddenberry in your Trek travels? 
FOREST: Gene of course was there, but I really didn't get to know 
Gene that well. The only contact I had was in the office; and then he 
came down to the set on a few occasions. But that was it, so I really did 
not get to know him that well. It wasn't as if he was a hands-on person 
at all times. He was secure enough in his job that he knew that he could 
delegate others to do their jobs. 

STARLOG: When you read the script and did the episode, did you 
think it was a good story and a good part? 

FOREST: Oh, yes, I thought it was a very good part. I had played in a 
Western a week or two before I did this — actors in those days bounced 
around between different kinds of characters! When I read this, I knew 
it had something more to it than what I had been used to doing. It had 
some dimensions to it that you don't often get in the roles in television, 
certain dimensions that demanded a little more from the actor. 

STARLOG: Did you have an "approach"" to the role of 

FOREST: My whole thing as far as acting was concerned 
was, you put yourself into the situation where your charac- 
ter found himself, and you just extended yourself into those 
given situations. That's all you can really do as an actor; you 
can't do any more than that. Shakespeare, in one of Hamlefs 
speeches, wrote, "Suit the action to the word; the word to the 
action." That has always been very meaningful to me, as to 
what acting is all about. As a matter of fact, to digress for 
just a moment, though that play and through that moment in 
Hamlet, Shakespeare was really telling his contemporaries 
what acting was all about. At that time, acting was very 
declamatory, very broad, and Shakespeare used that speech 
to tell his contemporaries what acting was really about and 
how they should go about it. Interesting, the parallel that he 
used in that moment in his play. And that's the way I've 
always approached acting. 

STARLOG: In my limited experience interviewing Trek j^^-^, 
veterans, I've found actors who barely tolerated WilUam 
Shatner, and others who didn't like him at all. 
FOREST: In later years. I've gotten to know Bill better than 
I did then, and I think Bill has changed a great deal. It's too easy to say, 
"An actor has a tremendous ego," or "He's a strange person as far as his 
ego is concerned" — but you have to take into consideration the fact that 
there's a lot of pressure on actors in a situation like that. You have to cut 
'em a little slack. Sure, he may have had an ego bigger than all outdoors, 
but at the same time there are certain things going on in an actor's hfe 
and vou have to make a Uttle excuse for them from time to time. I've 
done a couple of Uve shows of his, shows that he does for incapacitated 
children ever>' year. He's very generous about that sort of thing — it's a 
kind of a rodeo-type thing that he does at the Equestrian Center here. 
And I know he has done other charitable work. So. . . Bill's a good man. 
STARLOG: And Nimoy? 

FOREST: The show was done in a period of five days, and I was con- 
centrating pretty hard on the work. Leonard didn't do too much in that 
particular segment, but he came on the set one day in dress clothes while 
I was sitting up on the throne and they were lighting me. I saw him 
standing behind the camera and I said [imperiously], "Apprrroach — and 
be rrrecognized!" He kind of groveled his way up to me [laughs], 
played right along with the gag — that was a nice moment. 

And I know I'm on the blooper reel— I did something that I was 
completely unaware of at the time, the kind of thing you do when you're 
joking around. I was wearing that Uttle tutu and — I forget exactly why I 
did it— I kind of flounced my Uttle skirt up and then sat down on the 
throne, in a rather feminine way [laughs] ! They caught that on film, and 
everybody who sees it comes and teUs me, "Oh, my God, I saw you on 
the blooper reel!" 

STARLOG: And your feUow guest star LesUe Parrish? 

FOREST: Oh, she was wonderful to work with. Very easygoing. As a 

matter of fact, she wasn't very comfortable being an actress in Holly- 

Dressed in biack, Forest leads his 
soldiers into battle in Roger 
Gorman's Atlas. 

wood. She was good — it wasn't that she wasn't good — but she wasn't 
comfortable with the whole business per se. I don't know exactly what 
the situation was, but she said to me once, in kind of a casual way, that 
she just wasn't happy with HoUywood. And it wasn't long after she did 
that segment that she got married and left the business entirely. And 
probably was much better for it! She was a lovely person, a very very 
nice, nice person — probably too nice to be in the business. I think you 
need a little more toughness than she had, and that was just not /z^r— she 
was a very sweet person. 

STARLOG: In the '80s, you had your last two SF roles to date. King 
Kong Lives and a thriller called Deep Space, which I haven't seen. 
FOREST: Do yourself a favor— don't [laughs]\ And King Kong Lives, 
the only good thing about it was that we had a lot of fun doing it. Leon 
Rippy, Hershel Sparber, Wallace Merck and I were the redneck bad 
guys in it. The director was John Guillermin, and he had nothing but 
problems on that show— technical things, everything was going wrong, 
one thing after another. But we used to bring a smile to his face, 'cause 
when we came in, we did good work for him. We had a good relation- 
ship with him and it was fun doing it, even though the picture wasn't 
particularly good. 

STARLOOri'm a fan of yours because of the Gorman pictures, and 
other people know who you are because of Star Trek. Has any of this 
worked out to your satisfaction? Is this the kind of stuff you wanted to 
be remembered for when you got into acting? 

FOREST: [Laughs] WeU, not really. Not reaUy! I look back and it cer- 
tainly hasn't been what you might call a distinguished career, but on the 
other hand, it hasn't been bad. Some of the things that I've done, I take 
a great deal of pride in. Like aU actors, you do work in material and sit- 
uations that are not what you want and you try to make it the best you 
can. Acting has its ups and its downs. 

I don't'think there's anything terribly memorable in what I did. I 
did a workmanlike job in most of the roles that I played, and I'm 
proud of that. I would like to have had a big role in some film that was 
a little more important, but that never happened. But over a period of 
40 years, I had a pretty good career from the standpoint of working 
most of the time. Of course, I did a lot of work in Europe. I had better 
roles there, they had more depth to them, and I felt my work was bet- 
ter there than here. But, those pictures were never seen here! 

Mosdy what I do today is voice work. I do voice replacements, 
background voices and sttiff like that. Fm not reaUy interested in work- 
mg in front of the camera any more; I'm basically retired, and I like it. 
If somebody were to offer me a job, that's fine, but I don't pursue the 
business any more; I just don't want to. I'm perfectly content with the 
way things are. I fly a plane and play tennis and rather enjoy my Ufe, 
and I don't have the pressure of trying to get a job any more. ^ 

With a flounce of his tutu, Forest found himself immortalized 
on the rre/f blooper reel. 


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It Takes an SF village 

Recently, I watched a program on the E! 
Channel that showed how the Village 
People were created and promoted, 
becoming the foremost musical group of the 
disco era. It illustrated how a Frenchman 
named Jacques Morali gave birth to the group 
by devising six caricamres: the cop, the con- 
struction worker, the Indian, the cowboy, the 
leather man and the G.L 

The six guys who performed as the Vil- 
lage People have an intelUgent perspective 
that allows them to laugh at the stereotypes 
they portrayed. But these characters made 
fans feel good by singing and strutting their 
way into musical history. Long after the 
"death of disco," the Village People enjoy a 
permanent place in 20th century culture. Like 
Superman, some cartoonish characters 
become legends. 

Recently, I went to see Galaxy Quest, the 
delightful motion picture romp into science 
fiction — and beyond. As every STARLOG 
reader surely knows by now, the movie stars 
Tim Allen, Sigoumey Weaver and Alan Rick- 
man as has-been actors who for years played 
the larger-than-life crew of the weekly TV 
advenmre series Galaxy- Quest. As the movie 
opens, the cast is distinctly smaller-than- 
life — bickering among themselves, feeling 
saddled with roles they cannot escape, 
lamentins the fact that thev're doomed to 

appear forever at conventions where they per- 
form like trained seals before an audience of 
bizarre fans. 

During the first half-hour of the movie, 
however, I found the fans in the film more 
fascinating to watch than the cast. They were 
full of enthusiasm and overflowing with idio- 
syncrasies. Some attend the con in foam rub- 
ber appliances, flowing capes and outrageous 
makeup — while others merely mask their 
exaggerated frames in everyday clothes that 
are anything but fashionable. Their interests 
were strange, their technical questions 
detailed beyond endurance and their expres- 
sions of adulation exhausting to the already 
tired crew of actors. 

These fans were maddeningly familiar. 

I've been attending conventions for 25 
years, and I've met thousands of fans. On the 
surface, they are everything this movie shows 
them to be. They are strange, sometimes sur- 
real, annoying in their intensity and often 
they seem to take pride in presenting them- 
selves as a collection of cartoon characters: 
the nerd, the dork, the loony, the creep, the 
brain, the dweeb. 

Of course, I have learned that underneath 
the surface they are sensitive, intelligent and 
complex humans with perspectives that allow 
them to laugh at the stereotypes they portray. 
Whereas the celebrity guests leave their cos- 
tumes at the smdio and step out of character 
when they appear at a con, the fans leave 
their mundane world at home and step into 
character. At most conventions I've attended, 
fans are much more interesting to hang 
around with than the professional guests. 

Fandom, as we know it today, did not 
exist 100 years ago. Fans have created them- 
selves. This curious subculmre. like a cloning 
experiment gone berserk, sprang into being 
and multiplied rapidly, covering the world, 
spanning several generations. What started 
with pulp magazines blossomed into science 
ficdon and comics, spread to Star Trek, hor- 
ror, fantasy, gaming and even space sciences, 
and is now an estabhshed component of our 
planetary culture. 

With the namre of fandom clearly 
defined, stereot\^pes can be satirized in 
movies, novels and TV shows, and we can all 
laugh at ourselves. For Halloween, people 
dress up as SF characters. "Beam me up" is 
part of the language and phrases like "Live 
long and prosper" and ""S^Tiere no man has 
gone before" have even been used in advertis- 
ing for insurance companies and brokerage 
houses. In mainstream magazines like Tlie 
New Yorker, fans appear as characters in car- 

In Galaxy Quest, the fans end up being 
essential to the action that saves the day, and 
their idiosyncrasies are key to their heroism. 
The movie is truly revenge by the nerds, and 
it left me feeling both thrills and chills. 

Those who used to be outcasts are now 
part of the mainstream. If the bad news is that 
being a fan has lost a litde edge by moving 
on uptown, the good news is that fandom has 
earned a place in the chronicles of 20th cen- 
mry culmre. The Village People have made it, 
and so have the convention people. More car- 
toon characters become worldwide legends. 

— Ker?y O'Quinn 

96 STARL0G/M(3y 2000 


Comic strips that moved. That's what they called 
them— as this amazing medium emerged early 
in the 20th century. The characters seemed to 
live as v^ell. As motion pictures grew up, so did 
anim.ation, no longer confined to theater 
screens, but for television. Now, relive the 
excitement in this all-color entry in the STAR- 
LOG MILLENNIUM series, filled with rare art, 
designs, storyboards & photos, packed with 
interviews, unpublished anecdotes & unusual 

This beautifully illustrated history of the auto- 
mobile takes a decade-by-decade look at the 
world's love affair with the car, from the Model 
T right up to the present day. The greatest race 
cars, passenger cars, convertibles, luxury 
automobiles and more! 

100 YEARS OF BASEBALL takes a decade-by- 
decade look at the greatest baseball players, 

games, rivalries and traditions of the 20th 
century. Hundreds of rare photos. Plus, included 
free with each copy, thoroughly collectible base- 
ball cards! 

Comic strips were born just before the turn of 
the century. Now, in this all-color entry in the 
STARLOG MILLENNIUM series, filled with rare 
art, photos, packed with interviews, anecdotes 
& unusual facts, meet the characters & their cre- 
ators who made the comics an exciting part of 
20th century pulp culture, from the Yellow Kid & 
the Katzenjammer Kids to Dilbert & Spawn. 

It began with Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Today 
it is hard to imagine a world without the myths of 
science fiction, without Star Tre/cand Star Wars, 
The X-Files and many more. Now, in this all- 
color entry in the STARLOG MILLENNIUM 
series, filled with fantastic photos & artwork, 
laced with interviews, anecdotes & facts, relive 
the wonder of a century of todays, tomorrows & 


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20 Years Ago in 


"Sure, I suppose [his role as Dr. 
Reinhardt in The Black Hole] was 
kind of a hammy part, but there's 
nothing wrong with that. As an 
acton I really enjoy a role like this 
from time to time, when you can 
do some scenery-chewing and let 
yourself go." 

— ^MaximiUan Schell 

Interview: Samuel J. Maronie, Issue #33 

"It's a bit difficult to say what a 
science fiction film is. I always 
thought King Kong [1933] was a 
great movie. I like The Day the 

Earth Stood Still but I didn't 
think it was a great movie. I 
\0YC The Thing\l95ll 2001, 
Star Wars. And I love 
ALIEN, but I was bored by Super- 

— Stanley Donen, director 

Interview: Alan Brender, issue #33 

15 Years Ago 

"I was told that [the chestbursting 
scene in ALIEN] would be a bit 
messy, and 'Don't forget to play 
dead when the explosion is over.' 
And it was, frankly, not difficuh. It 
was the fu-st take, of the long shot 
of the explosion, that they used in 
the film when the thing came out. 
Or, as Bette Midler called it, 
'Escaping across the table like a 
penis on a skateboard.' It had 28 

moving parts. Which is more than 
most penises." 

— John Hurt 
Interview: Adam Pirani, issue #93 

'1 love to talk. I can tell them [fans 
at conventions] any gossip they 
want to know or share any anec- 
dotes they want to hear, but Fm an 
actor. And if they want to break 
into the business, they'll have to 
find out that stuff for themselves." 

— Robert Englund 

Interview: Lee Goldberg, issue #93 

10 Years Ago 

'1 knew I wouldn't be an actress in 
my children's eyes unless I did a 
Batman or a Star Trek!' 

— Lee Meriwether 

Interview: Kyle Counts, issue #153 

"Once you 
hear a 
of mine, 
you won't 
forget it. A 
falling in 
love with a 

there's your metaphor. Once you 
hear that, you say, 'Gee, I gotta 
read that. I wonder what hap- 
pened?' All the great stories of the 
world are metaphorical, so they 
can be remembered. My job is to 
interpret realism, to turn it into 
metaphors, so you can swallow 

— ^Ray Bradbury 

Interview: Bill Warren, issue #153 

Five Years Ago 

"I think it's very timely right now. 
People are ready for this sort of 
show. There are many elements 
about The X-Files that are appeal- 
ing. The scripts are really good 
and they lead people down an 
interesting path." 

— Gillian Anderson 

Interview: Julianne Lee, issue #213 

"Killing Kirk didn't make any dif- 
ference to me one way or another. 
I'm not a Trekkie. It's just a part in 
a movie. I'm not a regular. It's one 
more heavy, one more role, and 
onto the next. That's the way I feel 
about it. Listen, I'll kill them all. 
Just give me a chance!" 

— Malcolm McDowell 

Interview: Ian Spelling, issue #21 3 

Spaceships! Aliens! FX! Production Designs!. 


STARLOG brings you the Official Movie Magazine for 
tfie epic Warner Bros motion picture starring John Travolta. 
Based on the L. Ron Hubbard science fiction bestseller, the film 
also stars Barry Pepper, Forest Whitaker and is directed by 
Roger Christian, the acclaimed art director of Star Wars. 

Order your copy today. This magazine will be mailed to 
you upon publication, timed to coincide v/ith the film's release 
in May 2000. 

The Official IIAovie Magazine 


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